By Hannah Reich Berma

I always said I would never get an iPhone. I told anyone who asked me that I was not getting an iPhone. It was not a lie. I meant it. I was too lazy to learn and, like a few other things in my life, technology is not my strong suit. My grandchildren can attest to the fact that I am no shining star in that department. Last year, it took one of my older grandsons more than an hour to teach me how to text. When I think back to the experience, I realize he should have gotten an award for patience and stamina.

Four months ago, I was due for an upgrade on my cell phone. I had been using your garden-variety old cell phone with no touchscreen, finger swiping, or apps. No whistles or bells! And my plan was to get another phone just like it. But then I began to vacillate. In spite of all my former protestations, I started thinking maybe I should be a big girl and go for it. After all, everyone else seemed to have one.

Still uncertain about what I was going to do, I arrived at the phone store a few minutes early and waited outside for it to open. While I was standing there, my daughter called me. I told her I had just about made up my mind to get an iPhone. Her quick response was almost a shout, “Ma, you don’t need an iPhone. Even I don’t have an iPhone!” Her meaning was clear. She was implying that if a young person such as herself didn’t have an iPhone, why would an old geezer like me need one?

She continued, “You don’t even take pictures with your phone; all you ever do is make calls and text. And for that a plain old cell phone is good enough.” She didn’t stop there. “Why spend the extra money each month? You won’t access your e-mails during the day anyhow. So just get a regular cell phone, the one that you’re used to, and be done with it.”

I listened to everything she said, but it was when she said that even she didn’t have an iPhone that I made up my mind. She was right. I didn’t need it. When the storeowner arrived and unlocked the door, I said goodbye to my daughter and walked inside.

When I told the man who waited on me that I was due for an upgrade, he checked it out and agreed that I was. Then he asked me which iPhone I wanted. His look was one of pure astonishment when I said “None! No iPhone for me. I just want another plain old cell phone.” To his credit, he did his best to convince me, but I refused to be swayed.

Ten minutes later, I left the store with my new phone and for the next few days I went about my normal routine. I didn’t like the phone. It wasn’t like my other one, and I don’t like changes. But it was what I had chosen, and I knew I was stuck with it. Four days later, having totally forgotten our conversation, this same daughter–the one who talked me out of getting an iPhone–called me and said, “Ma, I just got a fabulous new phone. It’s an iPhone. And I love it.” I thought I would plotz. When I reminded her about our earlier conversation she cracked up. We both did!

I wasn’t really upset. The phone I had gotten was nothing special, but I was happy that there was nothing new for me to learn. Little did I know that my happiness would be short-lived.

Less than two months later, I began to have trouble using the phone when I was in my car. My automobile has a Bluetooth interface, and the man who sold the phone to me had kindly come out to my car to connect the Bluetooth and the cell phone. All was well for a few weeks, but then I encountered a problem. There were times when my Bluetooth indicated that my phone could not be connected. Sometimes my cell phone worked in the car and sometimes it did not.

Twice I went back to the phone store and asked the fellow for help with it. He accommodated me by coming out to my car and then reconnected things. But the problem continued, and when it happened a third time he couldn’t get it to work at all. He explained that my Bluetooth wasn’t compatible with my phone. Why it had worked with my other phone and why it had worked with this phone for the first few weeks I have no idea, but apparently the party was over. Who knows? Maybe my Bluetooth had an argument with my cell phone. Anything is possible. I was told that they were no longer compatible, and to me that means that they were no longer “getting along.” It was explained to me that automobile makers don’t make cars with Bluetooths to work with regular cell phones. Since most people have smartphones, those are the consumers they cater to.

Hmmmm, it now appeared that I could forget about using my Bluetooth from then on. And that did it! If I couldn’t use my phone when I was in the car, it was worthless to me. Now I had no choice. I needed to get an iPhone after all and, as I had just gotten this phone a few weeks earlier, I realized that I couldn’t get an upgrade for another two years! But it didn’t hurt to try. So back to the store I went. And to my surprise and delight, the fellow in the store worked some magic and managed to get me a new iPhone, with very little cost to me. I don’t know how he accomplished it and I don’t care. I’m just grateful that he did.

So I have now joined the millions of people who spend half their lives with their heads bent, as they swipe their phones and access all types of information from it. Right now I’m still learning. Yesterday, two of my younger grandchildren stood by and grinned each time I gasped at some wondrous new thing they were teaching me about my new toy. It may take time before I become proficient. It appears that I am something of a slow learner.

In spite of my many prior protestations, I love my new iPhone. It’s green and it’s beautiful and I treat it as a prized possession. Every day I seem to learn something new. Thank goodness Shavuot is coming up soon. By that time, my overtaxed brain will need a two-day rest. That’s the way it is. v

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.


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