It happened again.
I had a new idea for a blog post and was typing it into Google Keep, when my HTC One S rebooted again.
It never did that before I flashed Cyanogenmod 11 on it. The One S was my old friend. I remember when I first got it in April 2012 – I had just gotten dumped by my first girlfriend, and I needed something to make life enjoyable again (and a phone more bearable to use than the insufferably slow LG Optimus One). I took pictures with it and posted them on Facebook, hoping to show my new ex-girlfriend what a nice life I was having without her. All those desperate messages to her wall of silence – written on that phone.
And when that didn’t work – it accompanied me to the gym, where I dropped it on the stone floor. It was in my pocket when I did my first clumsy cold approaches with girls on the bus – there is no winter colder than a teenage German girl on an overcast day. I remember the very first time I tried an opener on the waitress at Grand Cafe – I felt totally stupid, the exact opposite of James Bond. I would then read everything to do with picking up girls – especially the Book of Pook… on that phone.
HTC, being the shit company they were, only supported the phone for 9 months (later they would go on Reddit asking people to “give us another chance” with the One M7). So at some point, I flashed Cyanogenmod. I even bought a new body and battery and completely rebuilt the phone. But it wasn’t enough. Without Android from HTC, the camera was sluggish and took ugly pictures. And it would reboot itself spontaneously. Plus it got slower over time because the Cyanogenmod kernel doesn’t support TRIM. It was time for a change.
After paying for lunch for both of us (usually we split the bill), my girlfriend (let’s call her F) and I were going clothes shopping. I like going clothes shopping – I get to see F in many different outfits, and in the end she foots the bill. The best form of weekend entertainment. But along the way we passed Media Markt.
So I dragged her in and headed straight for the phone section.
The LG G4 was an obvious choice – it was cheap because the G5 was out, had a good camera, a former flagship so it was fast enough and stood a better chance of receiving software updates, took microSD storage and had a removable battery. It even looked good, in an angular, black monolith sort of way. I played with it and found it satisfactory, although the camera was slower than the Galaxy S6’s.
Then as we walked along the aisle F said “is this the G5 you mentioned before?”
Yes, it is. It’s beautiful, I love the way that black glass curves up at the top of the phone. It’s shit expensive though, let’s play with it for a while and be on our way.
The phone was playing a video, and I noticed that it turned as I moved the phone, so I could spin around 360 degrees and the phone became a window into another world. I could look up and down. It was a 360 degree video. No, it must be a 3D rendering in real time. If so, then graphics have really come a long way.
“Look F, this wallpaper is a 3D rendering and you can look around it. That’s cool…”
“Do you need any help?”
We looked up. A store salesman, Indian. He looks cool, so he probably won’t stick around being an annoyance when we’re just trying to play with the phone.
“No, we’re fine thanks, just looking around.”
The salesman proceeded to demonstrate the G5’s modular feature. Yes, thank you very much, but I know that already (I said to myself). I observed the salesman. He had perfect skin, and for some reason huge earrings in blacked-out silver. He looked like a young Jiddu Krishnamurti, which is to say very handsome, not in a manly square jaw sort of way, but a sleek, feline face with an aquiline nose. Throughout his explanation I marveled at myself for being able to appreciate the male form while at the same time remaining completely heterosexual.
“But I have to show you the LG Friends. This is the 360 Cam. You control it wirelessly from your G5 over Bluetooth. And check out this video that I recorded on it.”
Holy shit. It wasn’t a 3D render. This was a video that somehow recorded all around it! I could even look up and down and turn left and right while it was playing!
And the equipment to shoot such a video was right there in that small dildo-like thing.
He handed us the phone, and took a few steps away with the dildo-like thing. “Go ahead, you can look around! Can you see yourselves?”
And we scrolled around on the live video feed, looking all around the store, and yes, there we were!
Suddenly my mind began to entertain notions of buying the G5. The battery was removable, it also took microSD cards and it was newer so I’d get software updates for a longer time. It was 700EURs, double the price of the G4. But I knew I could get it online for 580. With any luck, once I’ve escaped this store and back into my home where I can order it online, this feeling will have subsumed by then and I will resume saving up for the G4.
But then the salesman said:
“We’re doing a special offer at the moment, you pay 1EUR in the beginning and 30 per month afterwards, with a 2GB data plan and unlimited calls and SMSs.”
What? this was too good to be true. Normally you’d pay 50 per month if you pay 1EUR upfront!
“Yes, LG is doing a promotion with O2 at the moment, they’re subsidizing part of the costs for the phone. I’m not sure how long this is going to last, you can ask my colleague over there. Should I bring you to him?”
No. This has gone far enough. We’re ejecting. We’re leaving. I’m gonna make fun of F in whatever weird outfits she finds in the store, go home and, with my newly calmed mind and a calculator, realize that this isn’t such a good deal after all and save money for a G4.
“No thanks. Cool phone though.”
We talked about it on the way to F’s favourite clothing store. The truth was, it actually wasn’t a bad deal. In fact, if I had paid 580 for the G5 online and spent 10 per month on prepaid credit, I’d still end up paying more and have a smaller 3G data cap of 500MB. The 2GB data plan with the G5 deal effectively cost 5.8 per month. That was a tremendous deal and meant that I could finally browse the internet away from home without always having to worry about my data cap.
At F’s clothing store, she tried on several outfits but my mind was always on the G5 deal (and how many more pictures I could’ve taken of F with it). By now the wow-factor from the 360 Cam was gone and I was more interested in the fact that I could get a new phone for effectively very little money up front.
It was at this moment that I accepted that this deal was a very good one, and that Krishnamurti’s distant descendant was actually a very good salesman.
F had always spent money at this clothing store, but this time she didn’t buy anything. After the store closed, we walked along the streets, looking for other shops that were still open and some shoes. And all the while, I kept thinking about the G5. It would not leave my mind. Finally, around 8pm, I decided that this was a sign and that I was calm enough to make a rational decision.
“There’s no reason not to buy this phone anymore. Let’s go buy it.”
We went to Saturn (another shop), where another salesman agreed to match their price. By now it was almost 9pm and the store was closing. All the salesmen were looking forward to the long weekend ahead, but I was elated! Overjoyed! This phone is even more beautiful than the G4! And I still get removable storage, battery and a wide angle camera! Sure, I had succumbed to consumerism after 4 years, but I had legitimate reasons! Fuck you HTC!
At the cashier, I opened my wallet and realized that since I paid for lunch, I only had 15 cents left in my wallet.
“Uh, I’m sorry, can I pay by card?” I didn’t really want to say this.
“What, for 1 Euro?” The cashier was incredulous.
“Oh, I’ll pay”, exclaimed F. That’s a nice girlfriend.