Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Of 120 Page Phone Bills

I’m here to tell you of an event in our household that I thought I’d never see: a 120 page telephone bill.

You read that right. 120 pages. And, yes, I’m talking 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages.

Now, it’s not the horror story it might appear, although if delivered via Canada Post it surely would have arrived in a box and would have been photographed for posterity. No. It came in electronically.

Who’s bill is this? My daughters. And, what, pray tell is on that 120 pages? Well, I can say there are more than 5 hours of talking. That’s right. 5 hours of yakking on her iPhone. In one month. There’s also nearly 7000 text messages. And Bell has kindly provided each one its own line item on her bill so she can examine it in all its glory, when it was sent, to whom, how long, etc. The only thing that would have made the bill more entertaining would have been if Bell had kindly documented the actual texts, and not just provided the litany of connections. But then the bill would probably be 500 pages. And in today’s day and age, she could probably have published it what with “Shit my dad says” having started off as nothingĀ  more than a series of tweets.

No matter. I just have to share. And me, being me, I figured the correct thing to do is actually figure out how much time she’s spent texting. Roughly speaking it works out to about 40 hours. That’s right. 40 hours of texting in a month. That’s a full work week. Her reaction, for the curious, was a boisterous laugh. It’s highly entertaining to her. To her brother and her parents, it’s downright confusing. How can anyone text that much in a month? Like, wow, to quote the current generation.

Now, the delicious irony for me as a parent is this same child keeps telling me that:

a) I don’t know where all my free time goes.
b) I can’t help around the house, I’m too busy working two summer jobs (true, and yet …).
c) I can’t find the time to read a book or watch a good movie.

and on it goes.

Well, I think she now sees that she may have 2 part time summer jobs, but she has a part time job keeping Bell’s lines busy. I’m surprised the poor iPhone hasn’t melted from all those texts.

It is utterly amazing that my other child, a young man, probably rings up, oh, 10 texts a month. I have no idea what the average is for a household, but I’m sure my daughter, by herself, has ensured we’re in some upper echelon of usage. If it were Chapters, they’d give us a Lifetime discount card! A “Frequent Texter” card. Super Elite, no doubt.

Perhaps it runs in the family, this obsessiveness. This desire for connectivity. My wife, bless her, has always been a network wiz. She makes others look like amateurs and can walk into any room and quickly get to know everyone, and then awe them (frighten them?) by remembering not just their names, but their spouses names, their kids names, their pets’ names, and at times even birthdates, etc. It’s a gift. She claims she’s not as good as she once was in this regard, but I think her rolodex is simply full. She still maintains more information in her head than I do in my computer contacts list. It’s that scary.

So no surprise with my daughter. 7000 texts. A record she proclaims, no exclaims with much glee. Her prior record? A measly 5000. Bah. Nothing.

Unfortunately, I now fear she will try to better her record. Besides, 10,000 just has a nice ring. I wonder if Bell will ask us to switch carriers? I’m sure our postal carrier would have wanted to change routes if she keeps ringing up those types of usage numbers and he had the sorry task of delivering us her bill.

I’m sure you’re all wondering about how much this record cost her. How much was the total on the bill? $110. Not even $1/page! Quite a deal, if you ask me. Especially considering the above.

And when you realize that Bell (and Rogers and the rest of the phone cartel) figure a text is worth about $0.15, you realize she’s gotten off easy. Because, at $0.15 per text her bill could have been more than $1000! And, yes, she also has nearly unlimited talking, too. Smart girl, that one. She knows what to get considering how much she uses the phone. When it dies, it’ll have been well used (abused?). I figure, between texting, calling, and Internet — plus the TV she manages to squeeze in — she must be engaged with some form of electronics 80 – 100 hours per month. And still gets her sleep and, somehow, manages 2 jobs and a life. Something’s gonna have to give come September when she enters 3rd year. But perhaps she has plans to just have 2 days added to the week to ensure she has the time necessary to do everything she wants to do. She’s stubborn enough to try, and maybe even succeed.

To be honest. I’m starting to wonder if there aren’t two of her…

And, yes, this is the joy of a young, intelligent daughter who has the gift of gab — both when using her vocal chords or when she lets her fingers do the talking…


For those of you with young daughters, be forewarned. Get unlimited texting and as many talk minutes as possible. You might beat her record of 120 pages of phone bill but at least you’ll also enjoy the low cost such a record entails. The mere thought of the horrors that may have awaited the opening of that bill this evening are not even worth contemplating…

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August 2010
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