Some years ago, I got an email from a mate which said “Now you’ve got broadband, send me a text.”
I just stared at the email on the screen of my desk top computer before finally emailing him back the one word, “Why?”
I’m afraid I couldn’t understand his answer, but it seemed to boil down to ‘because you can.’
I felt my comment still stood, ‘Why?’
It’s just that yesterday I was talking to a chap, he’s a decent bloke, competent, useful, and if fate has led him to becoming an office wallah, it’s not really his fault and nobody holds it against him.
He was saying how he’d ended up taking a fortnights holiday because he hadn’t managed to get all his days used up before the year end. The day his holiday started a farming friend of his was rushed into hospital with a suspected stroke.
Our office wallah showed his true mettle and for ten days out of the fourteen he worked full time (so we’re talking about twelve hour days here,) alongside his friend’s son and they pitched in and not merely kept everything fed, but got sheds cleaned out and tidied up so that when the friend came out of hospital (fortunately it wasn’t a stroke) he didn’t have any catching up to do.
The reason the chap mentioned this to me comes in the punch line. He said, “I had ten days mucking out sheds, feeding round, spreading slurry, and my phone never rang once. It was heaven.”
Now I realise I’m really blessed in that we don’t have a mobile phone signal here, so my phone, an elderly nokia, lives switched off in a drawer. If people want me, there’s the land line.
When I go out, mostly I remember to take the phone and sometimes I even bother to switch it on. But it doesn’t matter, if people want me, there’s still the land line. If I’m out and they phone, my lady wife will take a message, and I’ll get back to them on my return.
If I’m out and she’s out, well try ringing later.
Why do people have to be able to be in constant in touch?
Now I can see the advantage of a mobile phone. If I’ve got a problem, or I’m running late, then I can switch the phone on, ring home and let them know. Sometimes if I remember I’ll leave it switched on, on the off chance home want to contact me (I don’t think there’s more than six people have the number.)
I have a friend whose use of the phone I admire, it’s a genuine tool of his trade; he can see something, price it, buy it if it’s worth buying and have it sold before he’s even left the shop. That is something that couldn’t have been done ten years ago.
His phone also holds an inordinate number of books so he always has something to read with him. This is possibly the one use that would tempt me to getting a more up-to-date phone. (Even nokias fail eventually, especially if they’re jostling in your pocket with your car keys. At some point I’ll have to bite the bullet and get a new one, this will probably happen this decade.)
But at the moment my phone costs me about £15 a year on pay as you go, which isn’t bad for a phone that cost £25 with £20 phone credit. Looking at the price of contracts for a ‘decent’ phone, given I spend less a year than these contracts cost a month, I might just keep on sticking a paperback in my jacket pocket.