Monday, April 23, 2012

Reasons I Hate Mobile Phones


I'm at the office of the primary school, filling in the roster of students leaving early. It's 1330, and the Mau-Mau is to come home for Swedish study. In my pocket, my mobile phone has just told me I have a message. Oh goody.

I dig it out. It's Natalie.

- When r u home?

I pause in the act of writing, and work my way through the bullshit menu system until I can text back:

- Two at latest

Note that I wrote 'two', not '2'. There is an algorithm for getting numbers into texts with my little Nokia piece-of-crap, but it's beyond obscure, and I can't recall it. Whatever it is, it's actually faster for my to type single digits in full.

Message sent, I finish filling out the sheet, and I go in pursuit of the Mau-Mau. Five minutes later, she and I are in the car-park, getting ready for the ten minute drive home... and then my pocket cuts loose with Dick Dale and the Delltones "Miserlou". Because that is my ringtone. For phone calls.

Why? Because I like that song. And I hate goddam phone calls. So it's nice to at least enjoy some small part of the process.

Anyway, I kill the car engine so I can hear better, and I say:


"It's me. (Natalie). Where are you?"

"I'm in the car park at school. Preparing to leave. With the Mau-mau. Is that okay?"

"Did you get my text?"

Now at this point I think but do not say: yes, I got your text. Hence my reply. Was that not obvious? Instead I say:

"Sure. And I replied. You didn't get my reply?"

"Not that text. The other text. The one that said I have to be at work by two."

"No. I didn't get that text. But I'm in the car park right now, with the Mau-mau, ready to come home."

(And I am carefully not saying: you do realise the only reason I'm not several kilometres up the road already is this phone call, right? Because I am not allowed to drive and talk on a mobile at the same time.)

"But I've got to be at work by two."

"Well, I'll leave right now if that's okay."

(And again, I am careful not to say: How is this conversation helping the situation in any way? The only thing keeping me here is this phone call. Did you miss the repetition of 'ready to leave'?)

"Well... no. Um. I've got to be there by two."

"Fine. Yes. I'll see you soon. Or not. Don't worry about me. I'll be home ten minutes after I get done with this call. If you have to leave sooner than that, I'm sure the boys will be safe for a few minutes."

(Which is as close as I have yet come to saying: Hey! Get off the phone so I can drive!)

Nat was about five km out of home when the Mau-Mau and I passed her. I was home ten to two... about ten minutes later, all told, than I would have been if I hadn't had the motherhumping mobile phone in my pocket.

The Internet I dig. Mobile phones are a vicious goddam imposition on the human species. And if you're cybernetically wedded to yours: sorry to hear that, and here's hoping for a swift recovery.