Helping My Sister by Colin Kelly

Chris is surprised when his sister Anne calls him wanting help with a new cellphone.
They live over 400 miles apart. Will Chris be able to help her?


My sister Anne doesn’t understand much about most things electronic. I’m her free computer support tech, digital clock tech, microwave oven tech, CD recorder tech, GPS tech, you-name-it tech. And all long-distance, by phone, because I live in Northern California and she lives in Southern California. But hey, she’s my sister, so what else am I supposed to do?

On the other hand, she never seems to have any problems with cellphones. She rushes out and gets a new cellphone every time her contract runs out. Then she calls to tell me that she set it up herself, and gives me a lengthy description of the cellphone, its color, its shape, everything on the display, every button, feature, bell and whistle. As a result I’ve learned what’s meant by the saying ‘bored to tears’.

I got a call from her today.

“Hi, Chris. Guess what? I got a cool new cellphone today.”

Oh my god, here comes another discourse I’m no way interested in hearing, especially since she’s interrupting the Cal-UCLA game. Great timing, sis!

“Cool,” I said.

“Can you help me with it?” she said.

I couldn’t believe it. This is the first time she’s asked for help with a cellphone.

“Uh, what’s the problem?”

“I need to activate the phone.”

“It should have come already activated. All you need to do is turn it on. In a few seconds you’ll get a text message that your phone is activated.  Piece of...“

“I know! I know!” she interrupted. “It doesn’t work.”

“Okay. What exactly doesn’t work?”

“Everything.”

“Okay. That means nothing works, right?”

“Yes. That’s what I said.”

Well, that wasn’t exactly what she had said, but that’s typical.

“In that case, it’s a hardware problem. Take it back to the RetroCellular store where you bought it and exchange it. Piece of...”

“It’s not RetroCellular.”

“Okay, whose is it?”

“Who’s what?”

“You didn’t get it from RetroCellular, so who did you get it from?”

“You mean ‘where’ did I get it from, not ‘who’. I got it from Nordic Mobile.”

I let out a sigh.

“Okay. You got it from Nordic Mobile. The phone came with a new phone number. You need to phone Nordic Mobile on your new cellphone and have the phone number on your current RetroCellular cellphone transferred to your new Nordic Mobile cellphone. They’ll set that up, okay?”

“You don’t seem to understand, Chris. I’ve told you a couple of times. It. Doesn’t. Work.”

I really wanted to say ‘What. Doesn’t. Work.’ but that would not have been productive.

“You mean you can’t place a call with your new cellphone?”

“Well, duh! What did you think I’ve been saying? The phone powers up but nothing works. I can’t make calls. So I can’t call Nordic Mobile to activate it.”

“Hmm. That’s strange. If it powers up then the battery should have enough charge for the phone to work. What’s on the screen?”

“Hold on... it says ‘Keyboard locked’.”

“Keyboard locked. That’s bizarre. Is there a paper in the box that has a password for the phone?”

“No. I went through everything in the box. But there’s other stuff on the screen.”

 “Okay, tell me what else is on the screen.”

“It says ‘SIM error 11’.”

“That probably means that the SIM card is damaged or faulty. That’s unusual, SIM cards don’t fail very often. Well, the only solution is...”

She interrupted me again. “I know the SIM card is good. It worked before.”

“The SIM card worked before? You could dial, and the keyboard wasn’t locked and there were no error messages?”

“Yes, the SIM card worked perfectly. I used it yesterday to call Jan.”

“Wait a minute, Anne. You called Jan from this new cellphone?”

“No, from my other cellphone. I didn’t get this one until this morning.”

“What? Your other phone? Wait a minute. Did you take the SIM card from your RetroCellular phone and put it in place of the one that came in the Nordic Mobile phone? Oh, please tell me you didn’t do that!”

“Well, of course I did do that.”

“Why? Why did you change the SIM card?”

“Because I want to keep my old phone number. And it has the names and phone numbers of everyone I call in it too.”

“You can’t use a SIM card from RetroCellular in a Nordic Mobile phone. That SIM card is preset to connect to the RetroCellular network. The SIM card that came with your Nordic Mobile phone is preset to connect to the Nordic Mobile network. If you want to switch your RetroCellular phone number to your new Nordic Mobile phone you just dial Nordic Mobile from your new phone, with the original Nordic Mobile SIM card installed, and they’ll switch your number. It‘s easy, they take care of everything.”

“But I’ll lose everyone’s phone numbers!”

“What you’ll need to do is walk through your contacts on your RetroCellular phone and write down each name and phone number. The add them to your new phone, manually.”

“Isn’t there an easier way?”

“There might be. I remember reading in an online newsletter that there are some backup services you can use to transfer your contacts. But I don’t know anything about them, and I don’t know if you can go from one cell service to another, like RetroCellular to Nordic Mobile. You can search Google for one of those.”

“How about you search Google for one of those for me? Will you do that for me, big brother? Will you? Pretty please?”

So that’s what I did. I found a service, and it supported her old phone and her new phone. But hey, I didn’t do it until the Cal-UCLA football game was over.

Cal won. Go Bears!


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This story and the included images are Copyright 2010 by Colin Kelly (colinian). They cannot be reproduced without express written consent. Codey's World web site has written permission to publish this story. No other rights are granted.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.