I can’t say anything bad about my old Nokia 1100 cell phone. It has served me well for years – and even got better over the years as improvements were apparently downloaded every now and then. It worked. It was cheap. It was simple. It was apparently unbreakable. It didn’t take pictures, or browse the internet but when I wanted to call someone, even across states, it was there and ready. I part with it somewhat sadly, as with an old friend.

Enter LG900G. I could have it for $40. The monthly charge would stay the same. But, oh, the possibilities! It has a voice recorder, FM radio, a camera and a video camera, and an organizer. I was told I could store quantities of contacts and music, I could surf the internet! I don’t have a clue as to what its capacity really is. I could have a “smart phone” for only $40! I thought it was time for this old lady to treat herself and to move on up to the big time. I succumbed.

It came. Putting in the battery and the back cover went easily enough. Then I plugged it in to charge. It lit up and told me it was charging and activation was required. So far, so good. So pretty.

Activation was something else. I could activate my new phone on my computer or by phone. I wanted the number of my old phone transferred to the new one, as well as the minutes I already had. I liked the anonymity of doing it on-line so I could take my own sweet time to figure things out and not tax anyone’s patience. It did not go well, in part because I started out using my wrong email address, wondering why they would not recognize me. Eventually it was suggested that if I was having problems I could “call this number.”

I got this guy from Ghana with an accent, using a kind of stilted pre-programed English. I had to keep asking him to repeat himself as he gave me directions as to what I should be doing with my old phone. Push this, push that, see the little box that says code? Now in that box put in #*3#2 or some strange combination of numbers and symbols, and push OK. When the box said “code accepted” is seemed like some sort of miracle. We went through that little routine once more, and got another “code accepted” in spite of his language difficulties and my hearing difficulties. All in all, it was a challenging, patience-trying experience.

So there I was, with the minutes gone from my old phone, no time on the new phone, and just the assurance that sometime in the new two business days the new phone would be activated. In actuality, it took only about 24 hours when my new phone started carrying on in my pocket and it announced that I had some 700 minutes of air time and my coverage would not expire until 2012.

Getting a new cell phone is not for the weak of heart. Or the technically challenged. Next thing you know the thing rang. I pushed the wrong button and ended the call. They left a voice mail! What to do? Look in the booklet. Push 1, hold it down. Well, it has one of those querty keypads with numbers all mixed up in it. I had to figure out which were numbers and which were letters. I didn’t know where to put my ear when someone started talking.

I was delighted to find out that I already had one loaded app – Facebook, of all things. In a fit of hubris I said OK to Facebook. I was warned that if I went online it would cost me minutes but I felt adventurous. Facebook login came up. I got as far as “babydot@” and I couldn’t find an @ key. And when it wanted my password, I couldn’t figure out how to switch from letters to numbers! So much for my first sally into “smart phoning.”

My LG900G and I have been getting to know each other for two days now. I found the @. I found the thing to switch to numbers from letters. I even found the key to make spaces between my words. I learned how to enter my contacts and spent quite a while doing that. Then I actually called my doctor and communicated my desire to change an appointment. Oh, the wonders of my new phone. But still, so much to learn. I know it has a camera and will take pictures. I don’t dare try. Not quite yet. For a while my LG900G and I are just going to take it easy and gradually become friends.

If there is anyone out there who would care to mentor me in this new relationship, I sure could use the help!