I bought a new phone this week. Well, I say bought, I just added an extra I don?t know how much to my monthly bill, but I had to put myself through the horrific haranguing of the mobile phone salesperson first. It?s a win-win situation! ***

My old phone was hurting me. It wasn?t giving me cancer or anything ? I mean, it might be, but the leaflets that come with the phone claim they emit just enough radiation to make phone calls, but some regulatory body somewhere says it?s not enough to cook what?s inside your skull. I actually am not too concerned about getting brain cancer (touch wood). What?s the worst that could happen? I forget some inane detail of Lindsay Lohan?s debauched partying lifestyle? Even worse, I forget that Oscar Nominee Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow) was the bad guy in Glitter with Mariah Carey. Or the fact that the big goofy bald guy from the Carry On movies was an Ice Warrior in Doctor Who. I?m sure none of this will be terribly missed if it gets chewed up by a tumor. Well, I?d miss it, but would anybody else?***

No, my phone was giving me a callous. On my texting thumb. It has one of those little knobby things that controls everything. Including my dvd player! And it had gone a bit wrong. I had to practically push it into a parallel universe to get it to select a phone number. Forget trying to fix up predictive texts. I just sent people smses that said things like ?that was of no pricks and speaks last might.? I was incredibly fond of my phone, though, and I tried finding ways around the knob ? which was a first for me...***

As the hard shell forming on my much abused thumb became granite-esque, I realised the phone had to go. It took a couple of weeks, and several tempting calls from the folk in Mumbai who wanted me to have a free phone and fifteen cent phone calls. And if I didn?t want it, what about a member of my family. You know, I finish work in the late morning, early afternoon, so when those delightful people call me from their Indian call centre, I am either napping, or in a very peculiar mood. My new favourite thing is to ?put them on hold.? ?Can I put you on hold for a second? I just have to get the door.? Then I wander off and type some emails. Come back several minutes later? ?are you still there?? Oh, they?re still there. Then I let them talk a bit. I ask some questions, make them think they might make a sale. Then I ?put them on hold for a minute,? again. Frig around a bit more, push it to six or seven minutes if I can. Put some pastizzis in the oven. Whatever. Then ?are you still holding? So sorry, you were saying?? They bang on a bit longer. When I think I?ve had just about enough, I ring my home phone with my mobile. Call waiting beeps! ?I?ve got a call on the other line ? can you hold on a tic, I just have to get this.? Then I hang up on them. In about ten or so minutes, they?ll call you back. ?I?m so sorry we got disconnected.? I let them talk a bit more ? hopefully having taken up at least half an hour, sometimes even an hour, of their time. Then I tell them, I don?t want it and can they go away please. It makes me laugh, if nobody else.***

So I had to brave the phone shops. About fifteen of them. I didn?t like any of the phones offered to me on my free upgrade ? they all had scary thumb-numbing-knobs, or were brands I?d used and hated, or they didn?t do Bluetooth or? there were a trillion and twelve reasons. I went to other service providers, I went to those bizarre phone stalls in the aisles of shopping centres, I looked on the internet. Everyone just kept talking about ?free? and ?cheap.? I don?t really care how much things cost. I?m a single gay man with an income from three jobs, and no mortgage or dependents. Price is not an issue ? I want a phone, that I like, that works. Apparently that is too confusing for mobile phone salespeople. They want to sell the offer, the deal, the discount, the upgrade, the no-deposit, the call cap, the included calls, the brightly coloured sim. If you ask them if the phone has a certain feature, they look at you like you?ve asked if they?re wearing underpants. Then they say, ?oh, yeah, definitely, definitely?? Then you have to go back the next day and explain that no, it doesn?t.***

New phone is great, and I can make video calls! If I know someone on my network who has a video phone?***

Until next time, be good, and don?t break anything.***