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How not to be a model ex-girlfriend

Since his ex gave him her old phone, there’s no talk with the builder boyfriend—it’s just poke, poke, poke...

18 March 2017

9:00 AM

18 March 2017

9:00 AM

Someone has given the builder boyfriend an iPhone and things will never be the same. Until now, he has always had a ‘rubbish’ phone and I have always been able to get hold of him. Even though I have a blasted iPhone myself, at least one of us used to have a communications device that made and received calls.

His ‘rubbish’ phone was some kind of ancient Nokia or first-generation Samsung — you know, the kind with no access to the internet. It worked.

When I had a BlackBerry, we had as near perfect communication as any couple could wish for. He would call me, I would answer, or vice versa. Remember that?

Then I got an iPhone, very much under duress, because the BlackBerry corporation, in its infinite wisdom, refused to keep making the phones everyone loved.

From that moment, the communication worked only one way, which is to say, I could phone him and he would answer.

He couldn’t phone me because my iPhone, coupled with the evil network EE (which stands for End of Everything), never has functioning capacity allowing it to receive a call. As regards texts, sometimes they go, sometimes they don’t. It makes no odds if the phone says it has a signal. Even if it has full 4G, the text is just as likely to arrive three days later than to arrive in a few seconds, which, I believe, was the original idea.

Dear EE/Apple Inc., If you think this is unfair please get in touch and I will surrender my phone to you for examination. But I warn you, this phone is so screwed up that sometimes when I use it to send a text the number that comes up the other end isn’t even my number. It is a number I have never heard of. I cannot fathom it. But you are welcome to try. And I wish you would.


For I cannot change this phone or its network while I am under contract because EE is quoting £600 as the penalty I must pay to get out of the contract before next spring.

At least when the BB had a ‘rubbish’ phone I could phone him, as the iPhone/EE would deign to let me make calls, and his ‘rubbish’ phone would always receive them. He could also text me and the text would sometimes come through. Not always, but sometimes.

However, then his ex-girlfriend gave the BB her old iPhone when she got a new one. This is easily the most annoying thing the builder boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend has ever done to us.

She is normally the model ex-girlfriend, offering friendship, advice and a space on her driveway for him to park his mouldering collection of old bangers because I certainly wouldn’t allow them to malinger outside my house. No doubt she thought she was doing a similarly generous thing when she gave him her old phone. But she wasn’t.

Because now I am an iPhone widow.

Apart from anything else, the BB is far too technologically naive to own an iPhone. On taking receipt of it, he went into a phone shop like a lamb to the slaughter to buy a ‘pay as you go’ chip.

‘I don’t understand,’ he said later. ‘The bloke in the shop didn’t want to give it to me. He wanted me to have a monthly contract.’

‘Of course he did,’ I explained. ‘Because now you are in the realms of spending too much for your phone by being on Facebook arguing with people day and night.’

‘Don’t be stupid. I wouldn’t do that. I just want to make calls with it.’ ‘Well, then, you are in for a shock.’

Two days after getting it home on a ‘pay as you go’ chip, his credit ran out. He had been on Facebook arguing with people from dawn till dusk.

He is sitting in the living room, as I write, poking his iPhone with his index finger, squinting into the screen, his face almost up against it.

This is pretty much how he lives now. In the passenger seat of the car, in the street as he walks, at home poke, poke, poke, and every now and then a snort of laughter and an exclamation, for example: ‘It’s all very well people having a go at Trump but’ Followed by poke, poke, poke as he types his response.

But the real humdinger is the fact that neither of us can contact each other. I arrive home exhausted because I’ve walked, and find him sitting on the sofa poking his iPhone with his index finger. Then an hour later he’ll call out: ‘You’ve just sent me a text asking me to pick you up!’ And he chuckles, as if delighted with the genius of a device that can perform such a feat.

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