Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Not a Phone-atic
Alas, I am, for the moment, tragically bereft of a mobile phone. I feel a little ashamed owning up to this, as though I were locked outside my front door naked, or were admitting to some grotesque deformity. These days, mobile phones are like a natural extension of the hand. In fact, most people today are more or less reduced to possessing a single functioning hand, because the other will be busy texting, or performing other arcane functions.
The mobile phone that I did possess, and which has apparently succumbed to old age, represents a model that can now only be found in museums dedicated to ancient technology. It was one of those oddly antiquated phones that, well, made and received phone calls. I exaggerate a little. It did also have a camera, and I did once accidentally take a photograph of my right knee.
The truth is that I hardly ever used it. I guess I am just not that talkative. There rarely ever seemed to be anything that couldn’t wait until it could be said in person, or via a land line. And I am not important enough that people absolutely have to get hold of me right now at this very moment, else the law of gravity will cease to operate or the one opportunity to cure cancer will be missed. True, I may have missed out on Justin Bieber tweeting “What r u up 2?”; and I may have learned only too late that Paris Hilton was going to the beach. But somehow I seemed to survive.
There are, of course, occasions when a mobile phone comes in handy. It is useful to have a phone when travelling (which, of course, is precisely when I don’t have it). I think the reason I bought one in the first place was to be able to call roadside assistance if I broke down, or when I next locked my keys in the car. (Remember when cars had those oddly etched metal objects that used to slip fetchingly into an appropriately shaped ingress?) Except, of course, that I would inevitably break down where there was no signal available.
Suddenly, however, mobile phones have become a necessity. Have you noticed those terrifyingly asterisked fields in forms you have to fill out online? Those fields that MUST be filled, by divine decree, or else the world will be devoured by fire and demons will break in from the dark side! The mobile phone number field is increasingly asterisked. I had to fill out such a form the other day, and I broke into a sweat, wracked by guilt and anguish, because I was no longer the owner of a functioning mobile phone. Of course, I could enter the number that they would not be able to call, or I could make a number up, and that (I hoped) would soothe the wrath of the gods. But it would not accept my old number anyway, in any of the formats I tried (with or without international codes; with or without spaces or dashes – perhaps I should have tried Roman numerals?). I guess they don’t want my business.
Anyway, when I return to Australia in a few days, I suppose I will have to acquire a new mobile phone, and I suppose it will probably be one of those to which I can attach myself when in need of life support. Indeed, I suspect that some people may die or suffer severe brain damage if they are detached from their phone for more than two minutes. Except, of course, that for those people the phone already functions in lieu of a brain.