Sunday, February 5, 2023


I spent some time yesterday morning looking at new iPhones, but the process made my head spin. Not only do I have multiple phones to choose from (13 Pro? 14 Pro? 14 Pro Max?), but multiple calling plans. Apparently it's not as easy as sticking with what we have now and getting a new device.

Not that I'm opposed to making changes in my calling plan. Right now, for example, neither of us can call the USA, which is kind of silly. When we first moved here in 2011 and were trying to save money we opted for a feature that blocks international calling. Now we're feeling more secure in our financial position and it seems being able to call home would be a good thing. (I do it on my computer via Skype, so it's not as if I'm completely unable.)

I just wish it wasn't all so complicated. I hate being presented with an excessive amount of choice. My favorite example of this is buying toothpaste.  Not only do I have to choose between Colgate and Crest and whatever other brands are out there, I have to decide whether I want whitening or Max White with Charcoal or 3D White, or toothpaste for sensitive gums or Triple Action or Ultimate Catalyst. And of course I can never remember what I bought last time. I mean, I JUST WANT A TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE. Why does it have to be so hard?!

In the afternoon I took Olga to the cemetery, and she met a friend. We were standing on a wooded path when this little Boston terrier bounded up, and he and his owner -- a guy named Sebastian -- stuck with us through our whole walk. It was a little surreal because I never talk to anyone on my dog walks, at least not for any length of time, and Sebastian and I wound up talking for about an hour, I think, as we ambled around the perimeter of the cemetery. I was initially suspicious that he'd try to sell me a financial plan or convert me to Mormonism, but he didn't. (And no, he wasn't trying to pick me up, either.)

The terrier's name, incidentally, is Gadget. He and Olga seemed to get along well, even after Gadget stole her tennis ball and tried to bury it. Fortunately I had another one in my pocket.

Last night Dave and I left the dog to her own devices (sleeping on the couch) and went out to dinner in St. John's Wood. A couple of weeks ago Dave found a nice French restaurant called Soutine that he really likes, so we went there. I had a martini followed by roasted cod with mussels, the house special, and Dave had steak frites, and we were both happy.


Frances said...

My husband keeps telling me I need an new phone as apparently mine will soon not be able to be updated. ( it is only 5 yrs old!) New ones all seem to be so big, and I need one to go in my jeans pocket.Good luck with your search! I Totally ( do you see what I did there?) agree with you about toothpaste....far too much choice. I just want to clean my teeth .

Moving with Mitchell said...

Dinner sounds wonderful. The dog walk sounds like it was pleasant although maybe a bit awkward to start out. A new friend for each of you!

Andrew said...

I am not an Apple person so I can't offer phone advice beyond buy the most expensive one you can afford but don't worry about extras like curved screens etc. The dearest one will future proof you.

I trust what you say that Sebastian wasn't trying to pick you up, but did you like him? You could have arranged a future dog walk with Seb.

Soutine looks quite posh and it is certainly not cheap. Nevertheless, at some times you pay for a really good experience including very nice food.

Rachel Phillips said...

I am a quick decision maker so once the decision has been made that I need a new phone, that's it, a new phone is acquired. I am an Android person and my Samsungs are highly recommended. My contract provider is good at changing international access during the contract period.

Bob said...

I buy what's on sale because f you check the ingredients they are pretty much the same.
I'm talking toothpaste.
Phones is like a foreign language to me.

Peter said...

Sounds like a pick up try to me!

Boud said...

I have tTracfone as my carrier, and buy whatever phone is cheap and covered by them. Currently a Motorola, which works fine and we understand each other. Very simple contract: I buy minutes, used for either texting or calling, and I used to call Canada, the only problem being the string of numbers to enter. I just paid my annual phone bill, about $120 for the year.

I too think that was a careful pickup attempt by Gadget and Sebastian. You'll know if he keeps on showing up wanting to talk (Sebastian) and swipe tennis balls ( Gadget)!

Ellen D. said...

If I like the toothpaste (or mouthwash or shampoo or whatever) that I am using, I snap a photo of it so I can glance at it when I go to buy more.
Good luck with the new phone purchase. From what I hear, lots are happy with the cameras in the newer phones so you will love that!

Sabine said...

We call our family in Canada, Ireland, the US, Australia and NZ via WhatsApp and/or Signal. Easy peasy, often as video calls. I don't think we used a landline or did an international call with dialing over a mobile phone in years.

Ms. Moon said...

I have the iPhone 13 Pro, I think. I do love it.
I have no opinion on whether that was a pick-up attempt or not. A new friend is never a bad thing though.
That dinner out sounds lovely.

NewRobin13 said...

We use our iPhone for music and text messages. We always go to our landline for phone calls. Can't seem to make the transition to iPhones for calls. I wish it were easier to pick the phone you'd like to have and a good plan to go with it.
Gadget looks like a nice friend for Olga.

Margaret said...

Yes, way too many choices. I bought my phone at Costco and it was what they had; I was desperate to get something since my 7 had died the same day as my dad. I needed to get in touch with people ASAP. So, it cut down on my time to mull the options. I usually get some kind of whitening toothpaste, not that it matters or even works that well. Adult teeth aren't normally white. Sounds like a very companionable walk!

Kelly said...

I totally relate to being overwhelmed by too many choices. I can stand forever looking at the banana display, trying to pick the perfect bunch.

Gadget is cute! I'm glad Ogla was nice about his theft of her tennis ball.

Claudia said...

I have an iphone SE. Never heard of it? that's because it is inexpensive and so not ever featured. I got it when I replaced my 6, about 2 years ago, and it is the same small size and has a "home button". I couldn't fit a big one in my purse pocket plus I don't do a lot of web=searching on the phone, use the laptop for that. If I ever upgrade. I might do it for the fancy cameras in the bigger phones. But the I will need another purse and I have been looking for years for one that I like.
Human companionship on a walk can be a good thing though not always.

Jim Davis said...

Well, Soutine looks lovely! I confess, choosing a new phone make my head hurt....

Sharon said...

You've reminded me that I need to check out the new iPhones. They keep sending me text messages about great deals.
Steak frites is a favorite of mine but your whole meal sounds wonderful.
I just watched a special show called London Super Tunnel about building the Elizabeth Line. That was quite a complicated project. Have you used it yet?

The bike shed said...

I remember years ago when WH Smith ran an ad for the three hundred pencils they sold - it was a gorgeous and trendy ad. But it missed the point that their customers didn't want to have infinite choices - that it was for the retailer to edit these on their behalf - what customers wanted was a simple selection of pencils from a retail brand they could trust

Catalyst said...

Back in 1991, when we were returning from a 4-1/2 year stay in Mexico, we stopped just over the line and went into a drug store. We were both in complete awe when we found an ENTIRE AISLE of shampoos. There are now big chain stores in Mexico but back in the 1980's the shopping choices were much smaller and we had become used to them.

Good for you and Dave on your dinner last night. I looked at Soutine's web page and my mouth is watering. Where I live you have to go between 50 and 100 miles to find a French restaurant. Woe is me.

The Bug said...

I have a friend who is an "Everything Apple" fanatic. I always ask her advice before I buy anything - and she usually gives me a little quiz so she can tailor her advice to my needs. She's a great resource - ha! Anyway, on her advice I got an IPhone 13 Pro (but not Max) last year when I upgraded. Of course, the 14s weren't around then.

James and Brigitta said...

I've looked around for a new phone as well, my old hand-me-down (my husband's) makes really crappie pictures. I just have a hard time getting over the price tags!
I call my family in Holland with Whatsapp, totally free calls and texts and easy to set up.

sparklingmerlot said...

I feel your pain! I have never been able to make a decision. The one time I think communism could be good. You can have this or nothing!
Husband talks to many people when he's walking the dogs. He is well known around here.
Dinner sounds perfect.

Red said...

O I'm not the only one who finds buying a phone and a plan overwhelming.

Linda Sue said...

the long walk, the Green Mile comes to mind...and Olga walks spanish down the hall...Guess I am in a prison mood.
The phone thing is a dilemma. I had two sim cards that I could alternate, one for UK and one for USA. a hassle but it worked.

Steve Reed said...

Frances: Exactly. I don't want a phone that's so big it doesn't fit in my pocket. (I think the bigger ones are the "Pro Max" phones.)

Mitchell: Definitely awkward. In fact, I'd say a bit awkward all the way through, even though the guy was nice enough.

Andrew: Yes, going for the newest one is definitely the best option, I think. Seb was nice and I'm sure I'll see him around, but I'm not going to seek him out!

Rachel: I'm usually a quick decision-maker too, but there are so many variables here. I just need to do a bit of reading. Samsungs are certainly cheaper but we're an Apple house.

Bob: That's what makes the toothpaste situation even MORE annoying. It is all basically the same!

Peter: Early on in the walk he specifically mentioned that Gadget was good for meeting girls. I think that was his way of making clear that he was not on my team! :)

Boud: Well, you can't beat a phone bill like that! Ours is about £50 a month, but we both use the phones for Internet browsing and other stuff. Particularly Dave.

Ellen D: That's a good idea, but then I have to keep track of that photo! LOL

Sabine: I haven't used a landline in ages. We have one, but only for our Internet connection. There's no phone attached to it.

Ms. Moon: I think whatever phone I get will be similar to that. You and I have similar needs when it comes to a new phone, I suspect.

Robin: Funny that you still use your landline for calls. It can be hard to hear on a cell phone, I'll give you that, but they're much better than they used to be.

Margaret: What a terrible time for your phone to die!

Kelly: I was glad, too, although she did snarl at him once or twice!

Claudia: No, I've never heard of an SE! It's funny all the variables that feed into our demands for a new phone.

Jim: It is quite a beautiful space. I was impressed!

Sharon: Can you believe I STILL haven't been on the Elizabeth Line? Maybe we'll take it to Heathrow when we fly to Florida in a few weeks.

Bike Shed: Exactly! More is not always better, and people feel overwhelmed when there are too many options.

Catalyst: But this is why you are a baker extraordinaire, whipping up clafoutis in your own kitchen! Yes, shampoo is another product that offers ridiculously infinite possibilities.

Bug: I am leaning toward the 14 Pro. I am a big believer in Apple products as well.

Brigitta: Yeah, for me it's more about camera quality than almost anything else! My phone provider makes it easy to overlook the prices by building the cost of the phone into our monthly payments. Of course then we're more likely to spend the money!

Caro: Ha! The benefits of Communism! Well, Capitalism DOES take things to ridiculous extremes, especially lately.

Red: I think EVERYONE finds it overwhelming!

Linda Sue: Yeah, I've heard of people who use two SIM cards depending on where they are. But I don't use my phone enough for that, to be honest. When I'm overseas I just keep calls and texts to a minimum!

Boud said...

So do I! internet browsing, photos, writing my blog, everything! No need to spend a lot on a phone. I assumed you realized my phone does everything. My internet is a guest setup,courtesy of a friend, no charge.

Pixie said...

I remember reading a book once about choices and how the more choices we have actually leads to less happiness. And cell phone plans are so convoluted, they are almost impossible to compare, which I imagine is the point.

Ed said...

We do a fair amount of international calling and found that a calling card makes the most economic sense. We just program the card number in our phones contact information and so can speed dial it, then hit the number of the person we are calling over seas and speed dial them. We have a third number we call a couple times a year to recharge the "card" with more minutes. I think it is around $0.05/min. Otherwise, we get charge $10.00 per day, every time we call international through our cellphone.

Jeanie said...

Your dinner sounds wonderful! I will remember Soutine.

I don't have international call-out either. I can add it for an addition $10/month on my plan (though I doubt it would work if I called US from UK. Maybe). But I think I may do so soon, especially if we are able to travel. Seems like it would be easier to make advance reservations and such. And my best friend DOES live in Canada, which I forget it a foreign country!