I was twelve. I went into the corner shop to hesitantly ask if I might use the phone. Never picked up one before in my life. It was on the day the newspapers published the open exam results. My candidate number was on the page, I passed. To find out which high school I was allocated to, I needed to call my teacher. I dialled the number and picked up the receiver. No one there. I put it down and redialled, making sure of the numbers. Still just some strange noises. Red faced, I stood there wanting to retreat. Mr Shopkeeper came over, picked up the receiver, asked for the number and handed it over when the line was through. He might have had a smirk on his face.
How would I know I needed to pick up the receiver before dialling? That was the beginning of my phobia for telephone and all things technological.
My mobile phone used to hide in the glove box when I was still doing school runs. It was for emergencies, say when there was a flat tyre (thank God that never happened — oops, not true, but a story for another day) or we got stuck behind a tractor on the country lane and were seriously delayed. I didn’t see the need of it otherwise.
I only learnt to text when my daughter first went on European tours with the orchestra. It was cheaper to receive texts on the Continent. I didn’t do thumb typing, nor use text language. I didn’t know how to. I struggled to find every letter and spell out the word, in full. Blessed her, my girl was very considerate, otherwise I might need help in deciphering coded messages. Moreover she already had a good vocabulary so I had no worries about whether she could even spell, tbh.
Now I have the phone on me when the family goes out. In the city, they have their usual haunts; the cookshop, the hardware store…and I have mine. We go our separate ways and have a good time. So the device does what it is designed to do – get us in touch…if I could hear it ring. Lunch? Pret-a-manger? In 20 minutes? See you later.
Am I envious of what people can do with their phones? Email, Twitter, Facebook, Google, flashmob… Eh. No. I appreciate the advantages of social networking in the fast paced world, but age has crept on me and I am slowing down to stand and stare. I don’t even worry about missed calls. If it was important, they would call back.
This phone is my second in a decade, not a smart one. It is a pay-as-you-go and my last top up of £30 was nine months ago. The way it has been used I can see another ten years before we part company. Being a woman I wouldn’t mind another pair of shoes but I certainly do not need a new phone. Unlike Ricky Gervais who tweeted recently:
” iPhones are Barbie dolls for grown men. You carry them round, dress them up in little outfits, accessorise and get a new one every year.”