The cell phone dance

 Can you remember life before cellphones? I resisted getting one for quite some time after they first made an appearance in South Africa in 1994.  “Whatever would I need one for?” I asked myself, and besides which, I’d never be able to perfect the steps of that cell phone dance which users apparently have to learn. 🙂  My sister once related a story to me of when she and her husband were in England on business. It was before cell phones came to South Africa, so not owning one, he had hired one.  She said she was so embarrassed to be seen with him in the street, talking on this brick of a phone, complete with aerial, that she made him go into a telephone booth to make his calls.  They were in Hampton Court gardens one day when his phone rang. In my sister’s own words,  “I was mortified, and walked away, totally disowning him. It just seemed so stupid to be standing outside chatting on the phone.”

How times have changed and I don’t know how I ever survived without one.  I am very geographically challenged and often get a bit lost, so it helps tremendously to be able to call my hubby and describe exactly where I am, so that he can direct me home. (of course, there is now GPS, so I can at least find my way to various local destinations). Most people can’t function without their mobiles, and I’ve heard various one sided conversations in the supermarket,  “Was it baked beans or green beans you asked me to get?” and in restaurants, “I’m here. What time did we arrange to meet?  Oh, it was Friday; I thought you said, Tuesday.  Ok, I’ll have to go home and cook. See you Friday.”  Of course, the one phrase we all have off pat, is “I think you’ve got the wrong number.”  I said this to someone after waking from a deep sleep about midnight one Saturday.  I’d forgotten to switch my phone off, and when I sleepily answered it, someones teenager, informed me, “Okay Ma, the party’s done. You can come and pick us up now.” Maybe they’re still waiting to be picked up. 😀

Cell phones have had quite an influence on our lives. For example they’ve messed up every movie plot ever written. Those spooky thriller movies where the damsel in distress finds herself stuck all alone in a really desolate place on a rainy night, with a flat tyre and/or no gas, and the plot thickens from that point on, are no longer plausible. If she’d had a cell phone, she would simply stay  in the car,  and call the nearest garage for help, instead of having to stumble through the dark woods in the pouring rain, with her low-cut, wet T-shirt clinging to her breasts. Yes, cell phones have certainly made screen writers become far more creative. 🙂

They do have their disadvantages though. Being constantly in touch, can get very tiresome. I was once in a Barnes & Noble coffee shop, and at the next table was a guy in a business suit, enjoying a coffee and a sandwich. His cell phone rang, and he proceeded to tell his boss the biggest pack of lies. “I’m waiting to see a client. He’s busy right now, but as soon as I’m finished up here, I’ll head right back to the office.” He grabbed his sandwich and scooted out of there like a bat out of hell.

Nowadays, errant husbands have to explain to their wives why they were unreachable because their cell phones were switched off. Teenagers know that if they’re late coming home at night, dad will be on the phone demanding to know why. You simply can’t get away from the phone. So many positives and negatives, depending on which side of the fence you are.

Cell phones have revolutionised the way we communicate, and are now ‘de rigueur’ and ubiquitous. We all depend on them for social and business contacts.  Do you think that one day in the not too distant future, we will evolve into human beings with iPhone attachment? Is it possible that babies will be born with the latest model fused to their ear, and as they grow up, the model will keep updating?

Stockbrokers seem to be getting younger and cuter all the time. 🙂

Pic stolen from my son’s FB page.