Monday, November 07, 2005


Thanks to an administrative cock-up at Telstra, and the generosity of my friend JB, I now have a mobile phone.

The story runs as follows:

Telstra offered JB a free phone if he joined their plan.

JB accepted.

Telstra changed their mind and said he wasn't going to get a free phone.

JB yelled at them.

Telstra offered him a cash-back instead, which he could spend, if he so desired, on a new phone.

JB, wise man that he is, waited until he had the money.

Telstra gave him the money.

JB bought a new phone.

Someone at Telstra who wasn't speaking to someone else at Telstra sent him a new phone.

So JB gave the phone to me, since I don't have one. I've resisted getting one for the simple reason that I don't really need one. I have landline phones at home and work, and I like to think that I'm well-organised enough that I can actually arrange to meet you at a certain place at a certain time without having to play a telecommunications version of Marco Polo, thusly;

Where are you?

I'm on the mezzanine. Where are you?

I'm in the foyer.

Okay, I'll come and meet you. I've reached the escalator.

The one near the car park?

No, the one under the skylight.

I can see it, but I can't see you.

I've just stepped off it. I'm in front of the fountain.

What fountain?

And so on and so forth. Sometimes I think that if Alexander Graham Bell had known that one day the chief use for the descendants of his invention would be for people to call each other and explain that they were on a bus, he might have concentrated on inventing the Playstation instead.

However, I take this free phone as a sign that it's time to stop being a curmudgeonly luddite. I've always been mindful that I shouldn't allow 'lack of need' to evolve into 'refuse to adopt'. Mobile phone technology has reached a stage wherein most people have to change gears to deal with the fact that a person doesn't have one, rather than change gears to deal with a person who does. When everyone expects you to have a mobile, it's probably time to get one. There's a difference between ignoring a socio-technological development and actively avoiding it.

So I have my little Motorola C131. It's tiny. It weighs so little that at first I thought it was missing its battery. The keys have a cheap feel about them, and its ring tones are either offensively hokey versions of great symphonies or shrill chirps that could crack window glass. There's no camera, no facilties for downloading ring tones or wallpapers, no Bluetooth, no i-mode, no colour screen, no polyphonics, no games worthy of the name, no bits that slide out or flip open... in short, probably the perfect first mobile phone.


Blogger John said...

Although you may have a phone, you (like me) will probably keep your Grumpy Old Man cred intact by refusing to use text speak (eg C U L8 R) and instead type amazingly verbose SMSs replete with perfect grammar.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I've gone so far as dated someone purely because he wrote essay-style text messages with perfect grammar and punctuation.

Of course, then he sent an SMS saying he "no longer wished to see me anymore."

To which I replied, "F U 2!"

12:47 PM  

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