The flip phone you’ll have to pry from my cold, dead hand

A year and a half ago, when I killed my Motorola flip phone, I replaced it with an identical model purchased from China on eBay. We were happy together for months before it malfunctioned. It stopped responding to any button I pushed.

I gritted my teeth and “upgraded” through AT&T, getting a red Sony Ericsson flip phone with no attractive screen on the outside (to display a photo of Isis) and teeny tiny buttons that make texting difficult. Not a huge deal, since I don’t text too much. I’m old, you know.

Then, not long afterward, the new phone stopped working. Doing that same thing where none of the buttons worked. I called tech support and the chickie asked me to open the battery cover and look for a little dot. It should be red or white. When I finally understood what she was talking about, I told her it was red.

She said, “If it’s red, it means it’s been water damaged and the warranty is no longer valid.”

Did you KNOW that? They installed a device so they can tell if your phone has been wet? Busted. The funny thing is, I don’t remember getting that phone wet. And the most ridiculous part is that the first Motorola, which I dropped one too many times so the screen no longer illuminated — its dot was still white!! The Chinese Motorola had a red dot of course, and had gotten wet a few times, but always before, it dried out eventually and worked again.

Which got me thinking. I put my SIM card back in the Chinese Motorola, and OMG, it worked!!

I stashed the Sony in my purse for emergencies and went back to using my precious Motorola. Until it stopped working again. One of the quirks I’ve discovered, when water has intruded, is that it vibrates and seems to think I’m pressing the buttons on the outside of the phone when I’m not.

By then, the Sony worked, so I went back to it for a while, testing the Motorola here and there to see if it responded to the buttons. A couple of weeks ago, finally it did. Hooray! I was so happy.

That same day, the phone was on the kitchen table while I worked at home. I walked across the house to do some cleaning, and when I returned, a water glass had been knocked over (Ahem! Leo!) and my phone, my iPod and my laptop were in a puddle of water. Just when the Motorola had dried out enough to work!!

The phone was the only thing affected, so I went back to the Sony. It was in the pocket of my hooded windbreaker on the day canoes landed at Swinomish last week. So it got soaked along with everything else as I took pictures in the pouring rain. (Oh yeah, my recently repaired Nikon D50 also is experiencing some electrical difficulties, such as not recognizing my external flash.)

Back to the Motorola I went.

Yesterday, there was a delivery of raw dog food that I was supposed to transport from Mount Vernon to Bellingham for a co-op I belong to. They make a really big deal about having your cell phone charged and on you during the process. There are a lot of people to keep track of. The thought crossed my mind that I should bring the Sony as a back-up, but I didn’t.

Then, at about the exact time the delivery was scheduled to leave Monroe for Mount Vernon, when I was expecting a call from the person bringing it to me, I spilled my Diet Coke on my phone. I immediately took off the cover to minimize the damage, turning over the phone so the battery area had plenty of air. The phone vibrated a few times and switched to camera mode by itself. It didn’t respond to the buttons, BUT I was able to receive calls on it.

By the time I had to call the people I was delivering to, the buttons worked again. Close call.

The price to replace this Motorola on eBay has gone up to about $150, otherwise I would stock up on the thing. I just know when the thing finally dies for good, the only phones on the market will be those newfangled smart phones.