I don’t think that those mobile phones are always kept so close to the heart as we imagine. In my case, in my shirt pocket. I see most people on the street carrying them in their hands. It’s almost as if people are afraid of the device escaping. The mobile phone has almost become a bit of an extra body-part, like an artificial hip or implant. Some aficionados of the mobile have special ear-plugs and can receive orders or demands without actually holding the mobile to their ears. Most people like to hold and fondle them though.
The latest phones have become much less a phone and more of an extension of doing the living for the person. Many, many, especially the young, now allow living to be done by this mobile gadget. By the way, why do we still call it a ‘mobile’? Mobile seems to indicate something large or cumbersome, indicating it can be carried, but only just. The more articulate in Europe call them ‘cell-phones’ which is indicative of something more macro-biotic or at least ‘small’.
The ‘living’ done by cell phone is not about having an artificial heart or even a bypass but more like enjoying two hearts or three legs. If the battery runs out or one takes a long bath, life still manages to go on, a bit precariously may be, hovering on the edge of a fatal abyss, but it still survives. At the moment it is a neck on neck race by young people holding on to their Coke bottle and the Iphone. Notice the change from ‘mobile’ to ‘cell-phone’ and now to ‘Iphone’.
Iphone means ‘I am the phone,’ the phone and I are inseparable and are now one. To see those Iphone and Coke holders crossing the road with kids in tow is awesome. I saw one mum crossing a busy intersection while, amazingly, texting on her phone with the hand that held the Coke bottle AND acrobatically sipping the Coke in between texting words while her kids were holding on for dear life lashed onto her threadbare and torn jeans. What I would not give for a peek at her text message. What was so burningly urgent it all had to be done while crossing the road and what level of unimaginable dehydration she suffered that she could not cross without sipping the Coke?
Perhaps the next generation of those bodily addendums will be the Uphone. A phone for U (you). It’ll be a gift phone that you sprinkle around the Christmas tree. The grandchildren will love you. They can twitter and tweet, twixt the tree and the kitchen tap, an insurmountable distance to overcome without a quick tweet first. A bit like the Volvo car ad where the kids on the back seat secretly phone the driving dad at the front, dad picks up the phone through the Blue Tooth ‘special’ Volvo capability. The whole family breaks out in unrestrained happy mirth all meticulously filmed, as always, on a peaceful deserted Swedish road. The week after the advertisements many couples in their new Volvo are all sour faced now, dead- locked in a traffic snarl with little relief from the Blue Tooth…No one films that oracle.
My own fourteen year old Nokia had an amazing escape from death by drowning. As is my want, I am an early riser and scan the laptop for any dire news. The break-out of war perhaps, or another Arab Spring country uprising /rioting, all reported on Iphone. Journalists are not allowed in, so all that footage can’t be verified, the newsreader solemnly declares. As if Mr. Murdoch’s journalists are any more trustworthy of news than the rioting Arab holders of Iphone. It seems strange that when the news is told by the people who make the news, somehow, it can’t be verified.
When I have finished verifying all the misery on the lap-top, coffee has generally percolated and the day starts in earnest. I quickly scan my old Nokia for any missed calls and then generally waste an hour or so just pacing between the bedroom and kitchen, moving a fork here or teaspoon there, rinse a plate and try and work up enough courage and chutzpah to finally get going.
The day of the near drowning of the Nokia was the same as any other day. Nothing was there to indicate anything abnormal or different from thousands of other mornings. The ABC news ‘Just In’ had yet again given the usual diet of hundreds dying of war and riot, the weather forecast was for more rain and a Liberal Party minister had visited another factory in Queensland somewhere and was shown wearing a miner’s helmet with the usual awkward confidence of a cow before the stun gun.
My morning coat that had survived so much bad news now needed a good solid wash with both water and temperature on the washing machines set at ‘high’. I nonchalantly chucked in the garment together with other light coloured items. I had totally forgotten that my faithful old Nokia was in its top pocket. The poor old sod went through the complete program including a ferocious mad spinning cycle. And this, dear readers is how my mobile came (almost) to such a sad end.
I now have an Iphone. Soon I too will be crossing a road and will text like mad, even tweet.
Why do those things happen?
Ps. The old Nokia did a complete Lazarus and after drying it on a warm electric blanket for a few days, somersaulted back into life, even its memory of old phone numbers.