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I got this phone in February of 2006. It was pretty awesome, so I stuck a couple of foil daisy stickers on it to make it awesomer. They didn’t stay very well, but they were cute while they lasted.

I got this phone from a shady discount-cellular-and-tobacco store on East Truman Road, about a block off Van Brunt. This store later burned down.

My cell phone is a Nokia 2115i on the Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go scheme, perfect for people unable or unwilling to commit to a cell phone contract. It’s ideal for your kids, so they can’t rack up a hugeaceous cell-phone bill – it’s all on top-ups. If you run out of money, you run out of calling. It’s also great for people like me, who don’t really use their cell phones except for once in a great long while. I spend $20 quarterly to keep the damn thing activated, and use it when and as needed. I can go for weeks without taking or making a call.

But after five years of being slugged around in my backpack, being used to laboriously peck out text messages, and being used as a combination alarm clock and phone book, my prized Nokia 2115i started to punk out on me. The 4 and 6 buttons no longer worked, neither did the right-hand select button or the “up” button.

So, I did what anyone would do.

I replaced it with another, identical, gently-used Nokia 2115i.

I really like this model of phone ’cause the battery stays charged for AGES and the whole thing is really simple, both in design and operation. Pretty durable, too. My original phone worked great for just a little over 5 years before shit started going south on it. This new one was apparently barely used, so I hope to get another 3-4 years out of it, at least. When the “new” phone starts to crap out on me, then I’ll think about upgrading, such as it is. I’ll probably stick with the same type of phone…an entry level, no-frills, “candybar” phone. Less shit to break, much less attractive for thievery.

Getting the phone was no problem. $10 on Amazon Marketplace, and that little beauty was in my mailbox in days. Getting my service switched over, however, was a pain in the ass.

I started out at Green Mobile down on Westport Road (warning, the link has automatic, annoying sound effects). They didn’t service phones of this type, but informed me that a nearby Verizon store should be able to help, that Verizon phones operated on the same software and that they probably had the cables and know-how to swap the info from the old phone to the new.

So, I pedaled over to Verizon, whereupon I was greeted as though I’d backed in through the front door with a big, dead rat clenched in my teeth. I was icily informed that they didn’t deal in Virgin Mobile phones, and I should betake my ghetto ass to a Best Buy or something. Begone, foul wretch and your shitty phone.

Disgruntled and hungry, I headed back to the office, muttering swears and despairing of regaining a fully functional phone. On my way back, I decided “fuck it, I’ll treat myself to a delicious sandwich,” so I detoured past Jimmy Johns. As I made my way to the sandwich shop, I passed a little, scruffy building I’d passed a hundred times…Broadway Cellular & Tobacco.

Yesss! Shady cellular/tobacco shop to the rescue. I went in, and the man at the counter didn’t seem even the tiniest bit taken aback that I wanted to activate a 5-year-old cell phone. I got no guff, he got my phone set up fast, and I paid all of $15 for the privilege.

I tell you, for my money, a shitty cellphone and a shady cellular/tobacco shop is the way to go.

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