Eldritch millennial gets phone-shamed

I am not a technophobe.

Do I keep my electronics and equipment for a long time? Yes. I’m ancient enough to remember a time when repairing was way cheaper than buying new. So if I can fix something, I fix it (or pay someone else to fix it) and I keep it chugging along for untold eons.

Such was the life of my Galaxy S8+.

It faithfully kept me connected to the masses for approximately five millennia (er, in phone years…in human years, since 2017). As of 2023, it was still mostly functioning fine as a phone. I couldn’t switch between apps very fast. There was lag in texting. These issues persisted despite cleaning the thing off. I could do nothing about the aging camera. Oh, and the battery lasted a day, max.

I had some intention of nursing the thing through 2023, for no other reason than to start out ’24 with a bang (“New phone, new me!”). Except then I went to a bunch of concerts and the camera got confused by the darkness and the light and turned out…well…not-great stuff. And then I saw the photos people were taking on the S23.

Specifically, I saw the famous moon photos going around.

Shit, I thought. I might want to take pictures of the moon!

(Yes, I know they’re faked/AI-assisted. Still better than anything the 8 could punch out.)

So I wandered into the store one semi-blustery day and watched an eager Gen-Z associate hurtle towards me. “Hi!” he said brightly. “How can I help you?”

I pointed at the row of Galaxies. “I’m interested in one of the 23s,” I said. “And…uh…I’ve been using…this.”

I held up my phone.

The associate stared at it for a few seconds. “The 8+,” he said, his voice a peculiar mix of reverence and contempt. “You have an 8 Plus.”

I could hear the subtext: How do you survive with such a phone, eldritch millennial? Truly you are an ancient beast.


Oh well. I decided to lean into things: “Yeah, it’s from the Dark Ages,” I said, and then realized that’s how my father refers to things from his time. But then I remembered that some of us have referred to the pandemic as the Dark Age. Or maybe we are in fact in a new Dark Age now. Maybe my old Galaxy is properly from the Before Times?

Oh God. I give up.

“Yeah, so, the camera kind of sucks and it’s time to upgrade,” I said.

He nodded. “I’ll say. This thing’s so old, it can barely zoom.”

Holy shit, I was being phone shamed in the phone store.

(“The eldritch millennial doesn’t need to zoom!” Miss Mac loyally announced when I shared this story. “She lives in the mosh pit!”)

“The battery’s really going fast, too,” I added.

“Pfft! Of course it is. These new babies, you can get three days. What do you get off that, four hours?”

I probably should have just left. Gone somewhere where they offered the proper respect to my archaic device. But I’d gotten this far. Another ten minutes and I’d have a phone that could actually take decent concert photos.

While the associate rattled off more stats about the Galaxies, I looked between the 23+ and the 23 Ultra. The difference between the two, according to him, was the larger screen and “space camera.”

But the Ultra was freaking huge. Too big for my small purses. I couldn’t even wedge it into a back pocket.

“I’ll take the Plus,” I said.

This clearly disappointed the associate. “But the camera,” he said. “What if you need to take a picture of Saturn?”

Folks, I hesitated. I have never before needed to take a picture of Saturn. I cannot imagine a potential scenario where my life is dependent on it. But for a few minutes, it was all I could think about.

For once in my life, practicality won out. “The Plus,” I said. “Please.”

He seemed genuinely disappointed. Maybe the Ultra would have netted him a bigger commission, but I like to think he really wanted me to use that space camera.

Of course, the jump in phone type meant that, like Thanos, a new charger was inevitable. I was fairly certain I had a USB-C charger of some sort at home that would work with the Plus, but I wasn’t sure, and hell, why not go big? I asked the guy for a charger and he raced to the wall to select one.

“This charger is gonna rock your world,” he said.

“Does it have to?” I asked, eyeing the price. “Can’t it just charge the phone?”

“This will take you into the future.”

I don’t want to go into the future. The present is scary enough. “But can’t it just charge the phone?”

Sensing he was losing me, he fired a final salvo: “It’ll charge that puppy in like, an hour.”

An hour? Okay, that’s…pretty cool.

I bought the phone and fired it up. I didn’t stick around to let them transfer everything over; I view a new phone as a sort of cleanse. No pictures, no apps, no people I haven’t talked to in years who are still inexplicably in my contacts. I typed in the important ones, took a picture of my parents’ dog, and headed home.

The phone came out of the box with a 50% charge and lasted another two days. When the weekend hit, I plugged it in and set a timer because if the dude was wrong I had every intention of stomping into the store and charger-shaming him.

Alas, the thing does charge in just about an hour. Which does indeed blow my little millennial mind.

It can’t take pictures of Saturn, but you know what? I’ll accept that shortcoming. Who needs Saturn when you have a decent zoom?