Sad Dog
The Highway Boys
A Voyage to Australia
Fires of 1967
Spring 1961
Julie, eat your heart out!
The Last Stand of Black Pete
Enter the 21st Century
Tales from the Crib Room
Weather Watch
The Bus Trip from Hell
Agonising About Acronyms
The Vacuum Cleaner
Forward to the Past
List of 2003 stories

Enter the 21st Century

I thought it was about time; time to join the 21st century, it's no good trying to ignore these things and get left behind.
So there was the package, $100 for the Phone and $100 worth of free calls. I looked at it the other way around, because eventually I would have to pay for the calls if I made them from my home phone. I decided it was now or never, so in I jump feet first.
The next step is to set it up; I read the User Guide through twice, and nothing makes any sense, but it's obvious to me I will never use half of it. I think I'd better enlist a friend's help, but he's none the wiser. Ok, so I'll get some help tomorrow.
Later that night I think to myself, I'm not going to be beaten, so get it out and take it step by step.
I turn to Getting Started, - Quick and easy it says.

Step 1: Ensure your phone is fully charged. Hold on! I haven't put the battery or chip in yet. Obviously that should be the first step. Shouldn't there be a diagram for that? I flick through the book, no, there isn't.
Step 2: Insert the SIM card, if you're uncertain how to do that, see your User Guide that came with the phone. What the hell am I holding in my hands? I turn to the cover - User Guide. Well it looks like I'm going around in circles here.
What are all these buttons for? There just has to be a diagram somewhere to explain all this. Get out the box, and take out every piece, of everything once again. Haha! Hidden in the bottom, you guessed it, another User Guide.

Start all over again.
Step 1: Charge your phone overnight - that can't be right, surely the battery has to go in first, and what about the chip? Are these people for real? Ok, so now I have the battery and the chip in. Charge phone overnight, a normal person would assume, a brand new battery would be charged and ready to go.

Ok, so I've charged it over night; now phone the given number to give details. Voice replies, We need a password; this is your pin number, and leave for ten minutes before you phone anyone. Ok, she's gone, darn, when she said leave it for ten minutes, did she also say, "Don't switch it off". I think she did, but too late now.
What's that picture on the screen? Is it off or is it on? How the hell do I know? Ok, so press the on/off button and see what happens? Screen lights up with menu on the right and something on the left. What now? Hold on there, the date and time are at the bottom, both incorrect. Should be able to fix that, I find the clock in the book, that was easy, didn't even have to look in the second User Guide, it reads Edit to set time. Ok, so I press to scroll through the menu for Edit. What the hell is all that? Your Text Message has been received. What text message? I was just looking for Edit. Maybe they sent me a message. How do I find and read a message? Forget it, I'll ask my niece on Thursday. Hold on! There's ducks walking across the screen! Are they trying to tell me I'm an idiot? I guess I must be, but this is really unfair. Now I have a clock face on the screen? With the wrong time of cause, and I haven't even touched a button in the last few minutes. I think I'll just ignore it and hope it all goes away.
The clock face is still there; Let's hope for some freakish reason, I'm not using up that $100. Maybe I'll switch the on/off button again, and see what happens this time.
I think it's off?
All I wanted was a phone that I could ring out on or receive a call. What I have here is a full-blown computer; it would probably print out a book for me if I only knew how to ask it.
Enough is enough, into the car and into town, up to the 'Telstra' shop. "Please show me how to make and receive a call."
"Thank you."
"Anything else?"
"Yes, could you set the clock for me, please?"
"Anything else?"
"Yes, what about this menu bit?"
"See these two dots on this key? Well this is the one to scroll through the menu, not that one."
"Anything else?"
"Don't overload me, but thanks"
The big moment has arrived; time to make the call.
I switch on, the screen lights up with Please confirm switch on. Fair dinkum, how the hell could it be asking me this question if it wasn't switched on?
The 0k icon is on the left, and Cancel on the right.
I press 0k, and those ducks are walking across the screen again, next thing it appears to have switched itself off.
Have I tried again?
Will I? Well maybe, after all my arms have been twisted, there's $100 worth of calls waiting to be used up.
Or is there?

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