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     Volume 6 Issue 35 | September 7, 2007 |

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Straight Talk

Ode to a Mobile Phone

The other day I was in a cab on my way home with the kids and they were chatting away amongst themselves about our little expedition to the shops. So I took the opportunity to sit back in the cab and make a few calls from my mobile phone. However, when I had finished my calls instead of returning it to its place of abode i.e. my handbag, I very foolishly put it on my lap. Bad move not recommended in the slightest. As you can imagine the combination of trying to pay the driver and get the kids indoors with the all the shopping bags, made me completely forget about the phone. It was only later when I needed to call someone that I realised my phone was no longer in my bag. The most logical explanation was that I had dropped it in the cab and to be honest I could have kicked myself for being so careless. However it would have proved quite awkward to have to explain to my kids what exactly it was I was doing and then again inflicting pain on oneself is just plain silly... Anyway I have to admit that I was rather surprised to find out how integral a part of day to day life my mobile phone had become. It was only when I lost my phone that I realised to what extent this particular dependency had developed. Thankfully, I have a feeling that I am probably not the only one. Although there are both positive and negative sides to owning a mobile phone, at this point in time if I had to choose, I would probably argue in favour!

Before the days of cell phones, I am sure many of us remember either writing people's numbers in diaries or just memorising them. Although I still try and write numbers down in address books when I can, it seems much easier to just pop it on my phone. It seems that these days we all tend to store numbers in our phone memories and not our own. You end up just relying on your mobile. Personally speaking, the result is that I do not actually know the telephone numbers, especially mobile numbers of most people. Having lost it was catastrophic as it meant that all the numbers that I had accumulated on the memory was now lost for good. The thought of chasing up people and getting all their phone numbers and storing them on my new phone is quite a daunting prospect. If you think about it, these days people hardly ever leave home without their phones. If you happen to be stuck in traffic you can call to say you will be late. If there is an emergency, it is possible to be contacted or to contact someone. You no longer have to have meetings in offices as it is possible to make official calls even when you are on the move. It gives you a sense of being connected.

Texting is also another great way of staying in touch and communicating with others. It is not always possible to talk on the phone so sending a message can be just as effective as well as being cost effective. Sending a simple “how are you” or should I say “How r u” shows the person that you are thinking of them. My kids tease me as I still struggle with myself to send abbreviated messages as it goes against the grain to consciously spell something incorrectly! What if the other person thinks I am incapable of spelling properly but then again if I text them in full words they might think I do not know the sms lingo! Hence my texts are usually a hotchpotch of abbreviated and full words and sentences.

Nowadays so many phones have cameras built into them. This means that even if you have not got a camera or if you just do not have it with you, it is still possible to capture the moment on your phone. You can either take a snapshot or even video something. These days a lot of news channels use footage of events, natural disasters etc taken from camera phones by just bystanders. Talking about camera phones, I was once in a situation where my one came in very handy. On one of my school runs, I happened to bump into the car in front of me as she had started and then suddenly stopped her car. So I got out of my car and she got out of hers to see what the damage was. As my car had been moving at all of 5 miles per hour, there was hardly any visible dent or scratch on the other car. For some reason I thought it prudent to take a picture of the almost nonexistent dent she was pointing out to me. We exchanged numbers and a few days later her husband called and told us that her entire bumper required replacing as did a few other items! Luckily we had spoken to our insurance company and mentioned the photos I had taken and when this obviously exaggerated claim was sent to them, they had all the necessary evidence to prove their claim to be baseless. Since then my respect for my multi functional mobile phone has considerably increased.

There are also downsides to having a phone. People expect to be able to reach you at all hours of the day or night, at work or on holiday unless of course you switch it off, which you do not want to do just in case there really is an emergency! It can also prove to be very annoying when people talk on their mobile phones in a loud voice in public places. If you happen to be sitting on a bus or restaurant and someone starts chatting away next to you on their cell phone, it is impossible not hear their conversation and you feel almost obliged to feign temporary deafness at these times. No, I did not really want to know about your escapades with your partner, nor was I relishing the graphic details of the operation you just had! It is also excessively rude to be constantly taking calls or texting when you are in the company of others. A call here and there is acceptable but when it becomes a steady stream of calls or text messages, it just seems a little disrespectful.

All I can say is that I am looking forward to being reunited with my phone albeit a new one and not my old and trusty keeper of all names and numbers! I am sure that within a short time I will manage to form exactly the same amount of dependency with the new mobile as I did with the old one. Such is the relationship of man and mobile phone....

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