‘How often do you de-frag this?’ said the Good Geek in the phone shop.
I had gone in finally to buy an iPhone. Trembling, I produced my laptop so we could download some software and save all the contacts in my BlackBerry and then port them back over to the new device. Or something.
The Good Geek is so called because, unlike the other whizz kids who look at me like I’ve got two heads when I come in and ask for ‘a phone with buttons’, he always tries to help me. But he still terrifies me. He had only had my laptop open a few seconds before he typed something into it that made it display its brains all over the screen. As the alien letters and numbers flashed on a black background, I started to feel sick and dizzy, and the overwhelming urge to grab the laptop and run.
‘Hmm? What’s that?’ I said, my heart beating in my stomach, neck, head and legs, as well as my chest, as I watched the numbers and letters run up and down the screen like decapitated chickens.
The Good Geek shook his head as he tapped the keys at a hundred miles an hour. ‘This needs a good de-fragging.’
I didn’t know whether to take offence, laugh or cry. If I was going to laugh, should I laugh raucously, dismissively, or should I simply giggle, as if vaguely titillated? I had no idea. So I said: ‘De-what? You sure you haven’t just made that up?’
The Good Geek shook his head. ‘Right, I’m going to download a de-fragger. It should have been done ages ago. Hold on. You will thank me for this.’
From what I could make out, my laptop was all bunged up by my opening new windows and then not clearing away ‘cookies’ — I will never understand what cookies are, so let’s park that issue.
I wrote down exactly what the Good Geek was saying about the de-fragging because I knew I would never remember it: ‘The optimisation algorithms allow you to de-fragment free space on your hard drive. Your disc health is actually quite good. You’ve got 7 per cent fragmentation.’
‘Why, thank you!’ I said, blushing.
Once the de-fragging was done, we ported across my contacts and he issued me with my new phones. Yes, I said phones, plural. I hadn’t the courage to abandon my broken down BlackBerry altogether, so I swapped it for a newer model. The iPhone 5 I would phase in. My plan was gradually to wean myself off the BlackBerry and on to the iPhone, mental health permitting.
This means I now have two phone lines. I also have an iPad I bought last year and which I can just about handle now and quite like. The thing is, the three devices seem to be unfathomably linked in a very spooky way.
When I got home, it wasn’t long before I realised they were all talking to each other. I am not just imagining this. I would write a note on the iPhone and it would ping up on the iPad and then the iPad would send an email to the BlackBerry and the BlackBerry would ping the email to the iPhone.
After a few hours I was running from one device to the other, as they were all charging at different power points, checking each one to see what the others had been telling it. They are plotting against me. Don’t tell me I’m paranoid. The blasted things are trying to bring me down. They are conspiring just like that computer called Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Their little red eyes wink at me. I’m a nervous wreck. Every few minutes, the iPhone and the iPad go ‘ping!’ then the BlackBerry goes ‘Chirrup!’ They have a horrible appetite for sharing information. Every picture I take gets sent between them, and, for all I know, discussed at length. ‘Ha! Look at this one! No wonder she can’t get a man. She needs her roots doing.’
While they seem to be working together, I have a theory that the iPhone is the truly malevolent force. I think it is trying to confuse the BlackBerry, and trip it up into making a mistake so that I will abandon it and come to depend solely on the iPhone.
Worse is to come. The Good Geek told me that when my iPad contract runs out, in April, I should come back to the shop and he will perform some alchemy to run the iPhone and the iPad ‘off the same minutes package’, saving me money. Dare I do this? I suspect that pushed together in this manner, they may do something truly terrible, to each other, to me, to the world.
Hal hath no fury like an iPhone scorned.