Posts Tagged ‘phones’

I have a mobile phone, obviously. I hate the damn thing. I use it rarely, even though last year, I fell victim to fashion and technology and exchanged my old-fashioned, easy to use brick for a streamlined smart version. Smart? Only as smart as the user who, in this case, remains stubbornly Luddite. The child who served me in the Mobile Phone Store was very helpful and reeled off a complicated spiel as to the merits of one phone over another; explained the ins and outs of having a contract over pay as you go, then asked me how many text messages I send in a month. On average. Give or take. When I replied probably less than twenty, his expression was one of pity followed by a glazing over of the eyes as it dawned on him that the lack of commission made from this particular sale was hardly worth the bother.

I left the store with my new phone, on the cheapest tariff available which didn’t include a user’s manual but gives me 100 minutes of call time, 500 free texts a month and 250 MB of mobile internet.

The efficacy of this new bit of kit is questionable. Apparently I can download as many apps as I like – whatever they may be – the cost of which goes straight through and inflates the account I was forced to set up, but I can’t get through to people I want to speak to on account of poor network coverage. I concede that texting is useful and I do use the facility, usually in reply to someone else or to confirm an arrangement, but as far as chatting goes, I prefer to do that F2F. (text-speak for face to face, FYI).  While the Sofa Loafer holidayed in America it was good to know that he’d reached his destination safely. Or it would have been had he been able to get a signal in El Paso. I received a one word text – ‘here’ – when he landed at JFK in New York and then nothing for six days. For all I knew he had been kidnapped and bundled across the  border to Juarez, which, as he was so fond of reminding me before his trip, is supposed to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world. As no ransom request was forthcoming during the next few days, I assumed that he’d met up with his friend.

I have two theories; the first is that mobile phones are contributing to growing anxiety prevalent in today’s society. The fact that Sofa Loafer had his phone and I expected him to keep in touch just served to make me more nervous when I didn’t hear. Later during his trip, after I had received a few brief but reassuring messages, I received a text in the middle of the night to tell me he was stranded at Atlanta railway station, the tone of which, I felt, implied that I was somehow culpable. Great! Four thousand miles away, all I could do was offer sympathy and advise patience. He discovered that American trains are even less reliable than British ones, and that having a decent book while travelling is essential. When my husband and I travelled around India in our early twenties, would it have been any comfort to my mother to know that I’d contracted Delhi-belly on the first day and that our hotel was full of cockroaches?

My second theory is that far from making our children more independent, having a mobile phone clamped about their person at all times actually makes them more reliant on someone at the other end of the phone telling them what to do. Whatever happened to initiative? Oh, sorry, not on the National Curriculum. Interestingly, Multi-Modal Language is. I’ll be picking this fascinating topic to bits in a future post. BFN.

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