Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On First World Problems

I could write several [thousand] blog posts' worth of first world problems that I come across, in both my life and the insanely ridiculous patient interactions I've been privileged/burdened/cursed (depending on the day) with.  Today's involves my cell phone.

Does anyone remember their very first cell phone?  I sure do.  It was a 2x6 inch Philips hand me down when we lived in Singapore.  My friends called it "The Paddle."  In all fairness they were sort of right.  In more fairness, they were assholes, as all high schoolers are wont to be.  It couldn't hold a charge for more than 6 hours, but it was MINE and I was MOBILE, goddammit!

Fast forward to my next phone, which was that amazing Nokia that everyone seemed to have at the turn of the century.  Many games of Snake ensued and lots of bad grades in college.

I am always amazed at the Next Big Thing in cellular technology.  It fascinates me in how it shapes society, public relations, how people interact with each other over dinner (spoiler alert: they don't), how we absorb information.  I have loved every new phone I got with the same enthusiasm as the snowman Olaf from Frozen has about summer.  Everything seems shiny, impossibly fast and futuristic.

My latest is a treasure--a phone I waited months for despite being eligible for an upgrade.  I wanted it and when I got my HTC one it was shiny, blue and everything I had ever hoped for and dreamed of.  Short of doing household chores, it seemed to do everything else.

...until it got stolen.

I can't understand theft at an institution of higher learning, let alone an Ivy League.  But during a bathroom break, some punkass kid stole my phone (bypassing the work iPhone, something that still has me scratching my head) and probably made a sweet amount of cash on eBay for it.   I was angry, resigned, sad, defeated, lots of things and wanted to nail the kid to the wall.  By his balls (see: anger issues, last post).

I budgeted enough to get a new one.  My enthusiasm for technology was renewed, my hope for mankind somehow buffed to a brighter sheen and all was well for about a month.  And then my new phone crashed today.  I threw a minor tantrum, managed to see all of my patients without killing anybody, and then headed to Verizon, who offered to replace it with a "Like-New Certified" phone, which is basically "phones that people change their mind about within a few days and exchange for something else."  I pouted and tried to give the sales guy a hard time about refurbished phones.

Pause for a second.  Not only do I have a cell phone with a great albeit rigid company, I upgraded my previous smart phone, LOST the new one I got, had the money to REPLACE it, and am sulking about the FREE REPLACEMENT my cell phone company is offering not being brand new.  Also I'm totally dreading re-installing ALL my apps.  And all this time I have a totally slow but completely functional BACKUP SMART PHONE that I can still contact my loved ones with.

Sometimes it's nice when you can give yourself some perspective, even if it makes you feel like an entitled, elitist asshole.  Me and my first world problems will quietly bow out and show a little gratitude about my lot in life, which is actually immensely full of privilege and plenty. I will be happy about my new-to-me phone and be thankful that I live in a world where this is the norm.

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