When good ideas go bad… Part 1. Part 2.
How long is it – do you think – since mobile phones took over our lives?
Can you remember how we survived without them?
I got my first phone 12 years ago and it has slowly eradicated any common sense I may have once had. Assuming I had some in the first place.
I was in the Navy for 11 years from the age of 16 and travelled the world as well as many parts of Britain. In all that time I did not have access to my own personal telephone and yet I managed to find my way about, get taxis, locate shops and buy things in them, and most obscurely of all, call people.
It’s true. I really did used to phone people even though neither they nor I had heard of Nokia, Samsung or Apple. It all seems like a distant dream now, I feel like my father must do when he tells me about them not having a TV in his house when he grew up, “But how did you know who to vote for on X-Factor?” I would ask him…
My SIM card is currently broken. I have found myself bereft of communications and access to Twitter while outside of my own personal WI-FI zone. The new one is on the way but in the meantime I am shaking with the withdrawal from Draw Something.
It isn’t pleasant.
As you may recall, I was in a car park in Southampton with a heavily loaded car and one child while my wife was attempting to navigate on foot to the train station that she had never been to before with another one of our children in tow. Luckily Jo’s phone is fine and loaded with GPS – again, how exactly did we find directions out when we were young?
I may be a bit old fashioned and vaguely sexist but I was worried. Jo is more than capable of finding her way to a station of course, anyone who knows our infamous PISA story could attest, but none the less I was uncomfortable leaving Southampton without knowing they were safely on a train.
But I couldn’t phone her.
So I drove to the station and had a look to see if I could see them. I couldn’t. Daniel asked me what the problem was, after all Jamie was safe because he was with his Mum. He was right, obviously, but sometimes you just can’t help worrying.
I just wanted to speak to her, to check that they had caught a train and were on their way. After that
I wouldn’t worry, it was just the thought of them being lost on the streets that troubled me. But I couldn’t phone her.
I sat in the little pick-up-drop-off layby and worried. What should I do? Should I just go and stop being so silly? Or should I drive around the streets looking for her?
There was no possible way I could call her because my mobile was stuck in emergency calls only mode.
Then, Daniel once again asked what the problem was and I, once again, explained that I wanted to call Mum but couldn’t.
“Well,” he calmly said, “why don’t you use those?”
I looked at him, he was pointing out of the door.
I followed his finger.
I was parked directly next to a row of about eight public phone-boxes.
I’d seen them but not for one moment thought about using them. Have I really got so stupid?
I laughed and mumbled something about how I had been just about to do that already actually, and got out of the car.
Sixty seconds later I got back in the car relieved and content even though I had probably contracted Aural Syphilis from the receiver.
I laughed with a mixture of embarrassment and relief that my wife was able to across a road and walk five minutes through a town without me holding her hand and protecting her from evil.
It is actually possible to make a phone call from a different phone from the one in your pocket. Who knew?
With Daniel smiling smugly in the back of the car, we left Southampton.
All I have to do now is find some way of getting to my toolbox without cleaning the beach gear and I can make a start on putting this bloody wardrobe together.