Sarah Britten
Sarah Britten

Are you ashamed of your cellphone?

Until very recently, I was ashamed of my cellphone. The iPhone I brought with me from Australia wouldn’t work here, so I was forced to use a Nokia 66somethingorother from 19voetsek.

It was terrible. No ability to surf the web. No GPS. Clunky design. Terrible sound, so that I wondered whether I was going deaf despite spending my youth avoiding having fun in nightclubs like normal people in order to protect my hearing. It was the sort of phone that prompts other people in meetings to look at you funny. (As in: how can the strategic planning director from a big ad agency have such a terrible phone? What’s going on here? Is she a half-wit?)

Builders and street sweepers had nicer phones than me. The one saving grace of that phone was the extreme unlikelihood that anyone would want to steal it.

A week ago Mohamed our IT guy downloaded some software and finally jailbreaked (jailbroke?) the iPhone, and my months of phone shame are over. Finally, I can place my cellphone on a boardroom table with confidence, safe in the knowledge that the others in the room will not assume that I am a dangerous Luddite lunatic with designs on emulating the Unabomber.

I am back in the fold, a productive citizen, part of polite society. Or impolite society perhaps, given that cellphones have been associated with excruciatingly annoying ringtones, inconsiderately loud conversations and inappropriately timed exchanges of inessential information.

The irony is that now that the iPhone is up and running again, I may be getting another even better phone (which is just as well, considering the uselessness of the security features on Apple’s best-selling device). One of my clients has promised me a Viewty Smart. This device comes with something the iPhone doesn’t have: an 8 megapixel camera with a flash and face-and-smile detection so even someone as hopelessly unphotogenic as me has a chance of taking Facebook-worthy photos of myself at all sorts of spiffy soirees. It also has a unique user interface, which I can’t wait to try, because this will be the closest people like me, who aren’t ministers of transport, will get to driving an S-Class.

I haven’t turned into a phone snob. But I’m really, really grateful I don’t have to carry this awful weight of shame around with me any more.