Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Hello, (Again), Treo
We all have watershed moments in our lives.
You know what I'm talking about-- those moments where time just stops, and we have a great epiphany, a realization about the world or, if we're 20somethings, about ourselves. 20somethings don't have realizations about the world, generally speaking, unless they're significantly enlightened or seriously cracked out.
Last year, probably at around this time, I had a watershed moment about myself. I came to the difficult and painful conclusion that the way I operated was no longer working for me. The way I "functioned" from day to day, well, it just wasn't cutting it anymore. See-- when the old Mr. Apron needed to remember to do something, he wrote himself a note on a tiny scrap of paper, and he put it in his right hip pocket. This scrap of paper, (it might have been a reminder to get the oil changed in the PT Cruiser, or that an allergist appointment was coming up, or there was a 9:10pm G&S audition tomorrow night) would join several other scraps of paper in the old Mr. Apron's right hip pocket. At night, while the old Mr. Apron snored the night away, the scraps of paper would all have a party in his trouser pocket-- they'd invite their friends Overdue Library Notice, Inhaler Prescription, Vacation Request Note and Random Scribbled Thing over to join in the nocturnal pocket merriment.
And, oh what fun they had.
The trouble was, the old Mr. Apron changed his trousers maybe twice a week, although he was admonished for this habit by his father ("Mummy, you have to stagger! If you're going to wear the same pants all the time, okay, but, Jesus-- stagger it! Wear the navy pants for a day, then the brown pants, then back to the navy, maybe for two days in a row, then back to the brown. I mean, if you don't stagger, people are going to notice.") and, although twice a week isn't much in terms of changing pants, the old Mr. Apron had to make sure that all of his little notes and scraps of paper made it from one pair of pants to the other, or else he'd never remember all the things he had to do.
Of course, he also had to remember to put his hand in his pocket every now and then, so he'd feel all the scraps of paper, which would then send a message to his brain that these scraps of paper were worth looking at, and then, hopefully, he'd look at them, and go get the fucking Cruiser's oil changed.
"Renew CPR certification." "Get Finley's ear medication." "Pay the PECO bill." "Haircut at 4:30 - Thursday." "Pick up supplies for work." "Email.... somebody."
Even unimportant losers have lots to remember-- it doesn't seem fair. I really used to be able to keep it all together. Really, I could. But, last year, I hit that watershed moment. I was flaking out on obligations, and with student loan payments and health insurance and other expenses, the bills I had to pay became too numerous to keep all in my head and in my pocket. So I panicked and I bought a Treo.
Now, because I'm an idiot, I didn't just walk into an AT&T store and buy one. I bought one on e-bay. It wasn't the newest of the new, either. (Apparently, brand-new, this thing cost $379.00-- which is a sum I won't pay for anything that isn't a home improvement.) It was a gently used Treo 650 and, while it has the proportions of a brick, it's by far the most technologically sophisticated piece of equipment I've had at my disposal since the Commodore 64.
I used this device from June of last year through November, when it started shutting off mysteriously, frustratingly, and constantly. I was very upset, not because I had spent a shitload of money on it (I got it for around $80.00) but because it was actually working for me. I was putting in appointments and events in the calendar, and I was actually looking at it! I was remembering to go to rehearsals and appointments and things were getting accomplished and I was feeling less harried and incompetent. But, as someone who did not have a landline, I needed a phone that would turn a cold shoulder to me whenever it felt tired or had a headache.
"That's it," I said to Mrs. Apron. "I've learned my lesson. No more cellphones from e-bay (I'd purchased three that way already). From now on, I'll just suck it up and get raped at the AT&T store and at least get a brand new phone." The only problem was, I wasn't eligible for a new phone. But my wife, who's had the same phone since 2003, was.
No problem, I'll just use her upgrade. Thanks, honey!
Turns out, something good actually came from entering the AT&T store. "Ask about employee discounts" a small sign implored.
"You don't give discounts to emergency medical technicians, do you?"
"Oh, yes," the woman with the unpronouncable name tag said, "15% a month off."
Of course, I haven't worked on an ambulance since February of 2007, but I'm still certified as an EMT until October of 2011. I figure, I worked for a year-and-a-half for $11.00-an-hour, I got psychologically abused by a psychotic partner who threatened to kill me, I had to wake up every day at 4:30am for three months doing the 6-2 shift, I got pissed on, puked on, bled on, cursed at, Heiled Hitler'd at (by a 92-year-old nun, no less), so, you know, why not milk that shit?
Shit = Milked.
Yes, the phone I got had a calendar, but it wasn't the same. With a numeric keyboard, it took forever to insert dates and appointments in there, and I never looked at it. It wasn't helpful, and I started slipping again. A few days ago, I confessed to my wife, "I'm slipping again. I can't fucking remember anything. I'm totally useless."
"Well," she said, "why don't you try the Treo again. Maybe it just needed a rest."
So I slipped the SIM card in that bad boy and, cross your fingers, we seem to be back in business. I spent a good part of Sunday night putting all my important events and reminders in the calendar, and it's a wonderful thing to have a QWERTY keyboard, I must say.
I hope it helps. I hope it doesn't start turning itself off again. I hope I don't get addicted and then forever need a converged device like this just to keep myself afloat and operating like someone without early-onset Alzheimers.
Of course, I have to confess something to you. The greatest thing about having my Treo back isn't the keyboard, or the calendar, or the internet capabilities, or even the plethora of games (yeah, Coconut Fern!). It's the pictures that were saved on its memory, that I haven't seen since November.
I'm specifically referring to one picture in particular. It's a picture I took at great pains and great risk, at my barbershop. Of two ladies. Look closely at the woman on the right. Look at her left ear. Look closely.
Yes. Those are rolled-up dollar bills. The shampoo girl's tip.
Welcome back, Treo. I've missed you.