I just left Verizon for an AT&T iPhone

Image via Flickr user smemon87 under a Creative Commons license.

When I first heard that Verizon was getting the iPhone in February, I thought: PERFECT! My 2 year contract with Verizon was up then, and I felt sort of loyal to them after having had Alltel and then Verizon since I got my first cell phone at age 16. After 2 years on a BlackBerry Pearl, I was more than anxious to get a new phone. My BlackBerry Pearl wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great. It didn’t have enough memory to hold more than a few apps. OK, wait, I forgot about the freezing. It WAS awful. In fact, at least 4 times a day, the stupid phone froze and gave me a spinny hourglass on my screen, at which point I’d have to pull out the battery and restart it. Other times it would randomly turn itself to silent, also requiring a reboot to fix the issue. I had come to hate it with every fiber of my being.

When Verizon announced the iPhone, I figured I’d be one of the first in line. Though I was briefly distracted by a BOGO deal on the top Droid phones, thinking that if I could get two Droid phones for $100 bucks, it would be worth it, that deal expired before our 2 year contract. By the time we were eligible for our upgrade, both Droids and iPhone were looking to cost us $200 each, and at that rate, I’d rather have an iPhone, as I’m a longtime Mac user and prefer the way they work.  I even woke up at 3 am to order iPhones for both my husband and me, at which point, I discovered that, although we already had a smartphone family share plan with unlimited texting, unlimited data, and 500 shared minutes, Verizon wanted to switch us to a different plan, offering basically all of the above except no more unlimited data, for $200 a month, or $70 more than we were already paying. Hell to the no. I may have been bleary eyed at 3 am, and caught up in iPhone fever, but I wasn’t going for that.  It felt like they were trying to dupe us into paying more for the same service, just because they had the iPhone.

My husband did some research and found out that we could get a similar plan from AT&T for only about $150 a month. The choice was easy. Goodbye, Verizon. Hello, AT&T. Today we went to an AT&T store and the employees could not have been nicer or more helpful. They were all very curious about why we’d be leaving Verizon just as our wait for them to get the iPhone was finally over. When we told them Verizon was charging $50 more a month for a similar plan, as well as not offering the discount AT&T gave us because of my husband’s workplace, they laughed and said they’d have to thank Verizon for sending us their way.

Now Jon and I are both in possession of shiny iPhone 4’s. I’m taking suggestions for apps, and already playing more Words with Friends games than I can keep up with. After 2 years with my BlackBerry Pearl, I feel rather like a caveman who was just handed a wheel. WHAT IS THIS MIRACULOUS TECHNOLOGY, AND WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? Typing on the touchscreen is definitely an improvement.

I just wanted to share our story amidst all the hype about Verizon getting the iPhone and talk of people fleeing AT&T for a supposedly better network. Despite having been with Verizon for almost a decade, they thought nothing of jacking up our rates, so we thought nothing of leaving them behind for a better deal.

Now, who’s got tips for a new iPhone user?

the perks of being a pod person

For a college advanced comp course, I once wrote a pretty scathing essay about people who are addicted to their ipods.  I believe I created an extended metaphor about ipods as invaders from another planet, slipping their tentacles into people’s ears and slowly sucking out their brains, turning them into pod people.  I may have even suggested that ipods are a health hazard, as more than once I nearly gave a roommate a heart attack by “sneaking” into our room before she saw or heard me, thanks to the music blaring in her ears, causing her to shriek upon suddenly seeing me. It was a pretty funny essay and it even got published in my college town’s paper.  Ever since, I’ve tried to avoid becoming a pod person.  Yes, I have and love a few-generations-old red ipod nano.  But it mostly only saw use in my car and on long plane trips, as I dreaded becoming one of those people addicted to my own personal soundtrack, shutting out the world as I walk down the street or sit on the bus.  I’d rather use my bus time to chat with people sitting around me, and walking down the street, I tend to get a little tree-hugger, listening to birds and stopping to inhale deeply any time I pass a jasmine vine.

Things changed today.

Shes clearly become captive to the pod people. By Martin Krzywinski @ Flickr.
She's clearly become captive to the pod people. By Martin Krzywinski @ Flickr.

As I boarded my bus, I could already hear a man pontificating.  I have no idea what compels the crazies to sit at the front of the bus and regale the poor drivers with their thoughts on life and politics and child rearing, but there’s always at least one, oblivious to the effect they are having on everyone else’s commute, conducting a running monologue all the way to wherever it is they’re going.  This morning, it was a white-haired older man, who seemed to be speaking in fragments about how white men just don’t want to work hard (um, did he know what color HE was?), how dumb it is that people keep coming downtown and robbing college students because they don’t have any money (um, I WORK at the college, and let me tell you, plenty of these kids probably have plenty of money that they keep in the Range Rover mommy and daddy sent them off to college in), and how they should rob the tourists down on the battery instead.  Seriously.  He said, “Those white women have $12,000 diamond rings on their fingers, cut off a finger, you’ve got yourself a score!”  He also went on about how he doesn’t drink or “use the cocaine” because “those are white women things.  They love to drink those martinis with their pinkies in the air.”  When (and I note that at this point we had made it about, oh, a mile from my house, so he really packed the info in) he launched into some sort of diatribe about sending his pennies to Obama so all the lazy black men could get jobs (at this point I decided he was just a misanthrope who hated everyone– white women, white men, black men, maybe the only ones he likes are black women like the bus driver he seemed to be trying to impress), I decided it was time to find the escape pod.

I fished around in my giant be-prepared-for-anything-that-could-happen-on-the-bus tote and found my trusty little ipod, Weasley.  I slipped those little white “tentacles” into my ears, clicked on my “Summer Dance Party” playlist and slid my thumb around the dial, cranking up the volume.  The lady sitting next to me, white tentacles also in her ears, nodded at me and smiled. A friend of mine across the aisle looked at me with jealousy, wishing she too could tune out the crazy sermonizer. When I couldn’t hear his insane rantings anymore, it was sort of funny to imagine his mouth moving to the lyrics of M.I.A. and MGMT.  I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I tapped my foot to the beat.

Now, in order to avoid true pod-dom, I should probably have removed the “tentacles” as I hopped off the bus for my short walk to the office, but I fear their little feelers had already worked themselves into my mind– one of my favorite songs had come on and I walked to its beat all the way to my building.  I sort of hope there isn’t a camera in the elevator because I may or may not have had a little dance party somewhere between the first and fourth floors… Guess it’s time to welcome my shiny red Apple overlord.