independent

Tuesday 2 September 2014

I used to be 'down with the kids', but now it's grandads

Published 24/04/2013 | 05:20

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I USED to be 'down with the kids' or whatever the phrase is these days. Even using that phrase is probably showing how out of touch I am with the young ones these days. But it was when my mobile phone provider rang me last week to offer me a sweetener to stay with them, in the shape of a smart phone, that I realised just how far behind the times I really am.

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I remember the first mobile I had, it was a Motorola flip-lid lad that I recall trying to get to grips with on the bus from Dundalk to Belfast I used to take every day in 1999 when I started working in the Dundalk Democrat.

I thought it was a deadly yoke, and while technology has moved on, the phone on my pocket has hardly seen the last 14 years pass.

There have been mobiles that have ended up down the loo and others that have been lost entirely, and I have managed to wangle a few upgrades in my time, but the last phone I got was five years ago.

It's a tough auld beast, entirely functional and known as a 'builders' phone'. I decided that with a couple of Weeins, there was no way anything that starts with an 'i' would survive for a day in our house. And the phone has pretty much been indestructible, which is a good thing, but if it doesn't break, I thought, I won't be getting a new one.

I have a stereo, (remember those?) with two speakers that Noah had on the Ark, and that's the radio sorted. But it's the things I don't have that were beginning to worry me - no iPhone, iPad, tablet, iPod, smart phone, Facebook page, Twitter account and no bluetooth in the car.

I had been starting to wonder how I'm able to get out of the bed in the mornings at all.

Until my friends from the mobile phone network rang me the other day with some 'good news' for me. I was entitled to an upgrade said the nice lady from Cork, whose accent I could hardly understand.

It's just as well I was finding it hard to comprehend her, because it took me a couple of minutes to compute that if I took up this wonderful offer, I would have to sign up to a two-year contract. I'm one of the lucky few who have managed to free myself from the contract noose by staying long enough with one company, and being very careful not to sign up to anything they're offering me.

But I have to say that I was tempted by the thoughts of catching up with the latest technology and getting myself back on track.

The lady said she could give me a 'Galaxy' for free in return for two years of my life. 'A what?' I had to say to her, Cork accent putting me quare.

'A Samsung Galaxy', she patiently replied. 'Isn't a Galaxy a bar of chocolate?' I said, seriously, to her. A stunned silence ensued.

'I don't need a chocolate telephone', I said into the void. As she spluttered to try to explain (I don't think you can be trained for someone like me in a call centre), the penny finally dropped in Dundalk.

'Ah, yes, I know what you're talking about now. My Da has one of them', I assured her. And then, after all her efforts, I told her I would have to think about it.

It's a bad sign when your Da, who let's say is on the one-way number 75 bus, has technology you don't. I used to be down with the kids - now I'm down with the grandfathers.

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