Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's official, I have become "that guy"

This is a picture of my cellphone here. It cost me $60, which is quite a bit for the cheapest model. I probably paid a little too much, but that's part of the tourist/non-Spanish speaker tax. But -- and this is key -- the charge on the battery lasts over a week and the phone is small. Hotness.

It's not a blackberry. And I end up texting on it way too fricking much. If you're reading this, you probably know that I blocked text messages on my phone in the US. The last thing I wanted to do with my valuable time is be punching things in at a snails pace using horrible grammar...especially when it costs me extra.

I have Claro (just renamed from CTI) but every other ex-pat I know has MoviStar. I honestly don't really know what anything costs here, but my understanding is that calling someone is like 90 centavos a minute (or about a quarter a minute). Sending a text is maybe 10 centavos (3 cents). Receiving calls or texts is always free. When you run out of credit, you run out and buy another card to stick more credit in. Now that I've done this, I can tell you that it's actually not that difficult, but it chafed the first time I had to do it.

So yeah, I now end up standing on street corners punching away furiously on my phone for a minute or two. It's really annoying, especially for the guy who hates texting. The only way I solve the cognitive dissonance that allows me to function long enough to finish my text is to tell myself that I am experiencing the culture. And that if I called my Argentine friends, I would become the rich American guy* who liked to call instead of text.

That said, I refuse to ask a girl out by text. I must have some principles, and that's where I draw the line.

*At least I have a cheap phone to ameliorate the fact that I call more than your average Argentino. I think expensive phones are status symbols here (not that they aren't in the US too, but relatively more so in Argentina), so most everyone has a more expensive phone than me.

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