Me: "Hi, yeah, this is Jake --"
Chris: "Hold on, my phone is beeping, I think it's about to die -- let me call you back from another phone."
which he then does.
So I decided that I would get him a combination birthday/HMas present of a new cellphone, partly because he really needs one (it's the only reliable way to get ahold of him, and that is important for a working musician), but more importantly because if the current situation continued I would probably eventually have to murder him. I told him about this and he was reluctant to accept it, but he eventually acquiesced to the idea.
But there were shows to be got ready for and there was Thanksgiving and so the idea was shoved aside for a while, until yesterday.
In the meantime, I was having my own comparatively minor cellphone problem, which is that while I was out of town for Thanksgiving I misplaced the power cable to my own cell phone. Fortunately its battery life is pretty long, but still, this had to be taken care of.
So I got home yesterday with a plan: talk to Chris, set up a time to go to the mall, and while at the mall take care of getting a new power cord for me and a new cell phone for him. Then, after that, we would go someplace to recover from having to go to the mall -- probably either Nick-a-Nees or Trinity Brewhouse. Preferably this would happen today (especially if we decided on Trinity, because Monday is ten-cent wings night there).
So I called him and got sent directly to voice mail. No problem, I figured -- the phone was off or he was out of range.
Additional calls yesterday and today met the same fate.
Goddamn it, I thought. His cell phone has died and is preventing me from getting him a replacement. (I also sent him email, but he has to go to the library to get Internet access, so apparently he has not read it yet.)
So I cobbled together a backup plan, which was that I would go to the mall by myself, take care of the power cable problem, then go to Verizon and find out what the situation was. Ideally I would be able to buy a phone for him myself, but I thought that was probably unlikely; he would probably have to actually be there with his old cell phone in hand for the transaction to take place. But maybe there were other options I wasn't aware of, or hopefully I could buy a gift certificate for the amount required to get him one of the cellphones (which would mean that I wouldn't have to go back to the mall -- pretty great!)
So I went to the mall and found out that T-Mobile doesn't still carry the cell phone I originally bought and therefore they don't have its power cord either. However the guy suggested "running me through the system" to see if I was eligible for a free upgrade. Which I was. So I got a completely new cellphone for free which (like my old one) has a built-in camera which (unlike my old one) can capture photos and film. This was a nice surprise!
Verizon was less helpful. I couldn't buy the cellphone myself, but I could get a gift certificate, but they wouldn't tell me how much the gift certificate should be for, and they had no real interest in showing me the different cell phones or telling me about them or anything. In fact, they seemed a little uneasy talking to me. (This was actually an improvement over the last time I went there, in July 2004 when I was shopping around at the different cellular providers to decide which one I should go with, and everyone in the Verizon shop pretended I didn't exist and refused to even look at me.) So I will just have to go back there with Chris sometime, hopefully tomorrow, because dude needs to have a working cell phone, dammit.
My new cellphone is some kind of Nokia thing. After acquiring it I discovered that, despite its basically nondescript exterior, it's actually a pretty flamboyant phone. For instance it has multicolored lights hidden in the exterior housing which flash obnoxiously whenever you do anything (such as receive a call or make a call yourself or leave the phone alone for a while so that it goes to sleep). I am slowly going through and figuring out how to turn off as many of these little features as I possibly can.
One silly lack-of-feature: by default it doesn't display the current time anywhere on the screen unless it's asleep. There doesn't appear to be a way to make it do so, either. (Also, since the screen isn't lighted when it's asleep, it means that you pretty much can't use it to figure out the time if it's dark out.)