There’s been a complete breakdown in communication since the advent of the mobile phone. Would you agree? It seems we’re now at the stage where we can’t survive without them. Well, cave-dwellers in Papua New Guinea probably manage. And perhaps the odd pensioner venturing no further than the paper shop. Coo, just imagine having to rely on that archaic device, the landline telephone.
In the late nineties, I regularly drove trucks down to Italy…without a phone. No, surely not? You rebel. How did you cope? Well, it’s perfectly simple: we planned, in those days. When I left a truck yard, I was incommunicado – not indefinitely, but maybe for three days until the goods were delivered. (Or four days if I found a particularly nice river and invented a breakdown).
I would ring from a factory and a fax would then be sent with instructions for the next job. All I needed was an address for the return load – twenty tons of wine out of the Dolomites region, for example, or umpteen collections of tiles from the Bologna area.
Nowadays, in this hopelessly inefficient modern era – in which we are contactable “24/7” – organisation no longer features so highly on the programme. Transport managers know that they can get hold of drivers, and so they don’t necessarily disseminate all the information required.
Partly out of forgetfulness; partly to hold onto a morsel of power, perhaps. Nebulous arrangements are often made, backed up by ‘I’ll text you further details.’ Grrrr. How are you supposed to plan unsavoury evenings off route if you don’t know what your route is?
Another disadvantage is listening to boorish oafs babbling into mobile phones on trains. You know the chaps. They’ll talk ostentatiously of acquisitions and slutty secretaries – ‘yah, we’re looking at half a mill or so, Bill. Christ, lovely rack on that little filly, by the way. Yah, yah’ – and affect a peculiar sniff that grown-ups make when they’re pretending to be important.
And then there’s the dull prat announcing to his wife that he’ll be home shortly. ‘Train’s a bit late darling, but I’ll be home in ten minutes,’ he may begin. And that ought to be where he finishes; surely in ten minutes’ time the conversation can flourish face to face? But no. It always continues with something like: ‘Really? Uncle Alfie’s in bed with his leg? Ooh, I know. Hospitals, yes. Course my aunt’s still got the scar…’ Jesus, will you shut up!
Flirting and Dating
The issue I actually wanted to address, though, is that the mobile phone has replaced the “little black book”. I mean, who actually writes down a phone number any more? You know in smoky bars – oh, even those are gone now, as health and safety prosper – when we used to exchange numbers on a beer mat or paper napkin?
Well, now it’s all just a few punches of the right thumb – or left, if you’re homosexual – and ‘Bob is your uncle’ as they say. Well, Bob is no longer your uncle if you lose your phone. Nor, indeed, is Fanny your aunt if the sim card self-destructs.
Blast! Is that a One or a Seven?
Granted, that napkin/beer mat may have been smudged in the rain, but if it survived the journey back to your hotel, and on sobering up you vaguely remembered who Natasha was – or was it Vernonica? I’m terrible with names – you backed it up, didn’t you? Not in the crude sense of capricious external hard drives, but on actual paper. Or, if you’re a cad, a little black book.
So imagine how doomed you’d be if all your juicy sim card numbers evaporated up a radiowave… Yes, obviously I’ve no idea how cell phones work, but are our lives any better than they were twenty years ago, before the advent of the mobile phone? Anyway, I must dash – I’ve just had a text message from a young filly with a splendid rack..