Cellular service at standstill

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

I hate my cellular phone.

In fact, if the boss allows, I may drive over to Lay Lake this afternoon and let a largemouth lunker enjoy a new toy. (Just kidding about the lake thing. That’s environmentally stupid, and could get me in trouble with PETA.)

Anyway, my silver flip phone from company XYZ is giving me fits. Sadly, most of you know the feeling.

You’re on the highway or in the store and you’re talking with person so-and-so about something totally urgent, like who’s favored to win the 2005 World Scrabble Championship, or how many times Randy will say &uot;Dawg&uot; on the next episode of &uot;American Idol.&uot;

All of a sudden, the five bars become two bars and then one bar and some lady says, &uot;You goof. If you would like to make a call, please hang up and try again …&uot;

It’s frustrating. And it’s happening way too often.

Just ask my beautiful fiancee, Stephanie. She knows when I’m just past Oak Mountain on I-65, because I lose coverage. There are also a couple of spots on I-459 between Hoover and home-sweet-home McCalla that are coverage killers.

Wit’s end came late last month. It was a Friday afternoon, and I was trying to talk with Stephanie before she left on a trip to Kentucky. In a span of three minutes, we must have lost coverage at least 10 times.

FYI … I was in Pelham, and she was in Homewood. Those two cities are not exactly the boonies.

Anyway, that experience was terrible. I was on my way to cover Helena Girl Scout Troops 278 and 28, who coincidentally, were collecting computers, fax machines and cellular phones for E-cycling Day. I took the wrong turn somewhere in Helena, so that delayed my trip about 30 minutes.

When I get that brief feeling of road rage, I call Stephanie. She’s good to let me complain. Then she can laugh and thank God she’s more normal than me.

By the time Stephanie called back for the final time, I was stuck in the middle of an intersection near a Helena shopping center, trying to get in the correct lane. (For any other driver who was ready to punch me out, I apologize.)

Anyway, I decided a few days later to visit XYZ cellular phone store, hoping to find some solution. Just before entering the store parking lot, I curiously looked to see how many bars my phone had.

It said &uot;no service.&uot; That’s not surprising.

Basically, the two individuals at the store updated my phone but said they couldn’t help anymore. The problem was water damage.

I’m trying to remember the last time I dropped my cell phone into the bathtub or the Pacific Ocean. So far, I can’t think of any instance. Guess my phone isn’t sweat-protected.

The only solution the two employees had was for me to purchase a new phone. Of course, that would require a new contract for approximately 46 years.


There is some good news. My phone seemingly has better coverage around Oak Mountain now and even a little better coverage in McCalla.

Still, the dropped calls are getting old.

Maybe I should find the scout troops again once my contract ends this summer. They were terrific kids, and maybe they will still take my cellular phone, and put it to good use.

At least PETA protestors won’t be in front of my home or office.

Patrick Johnston is a staff writer at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at mailto:patrick.johnston@shelbycountyreporter.com