A couple of months ago I lost my phone in a gay bar, it must have been picked up through the night and sold off or whatever, unfortunately though it left me phone-less, without enough money to buy a new one, and it completely shattered my opinion that the gay community were far too fabulous to ever commit such a heinous act.
Since then I ordered a new sim card and put it in an old Sony Erikson I had lying around the house, however due to an un-avoidable accident (launching the phone at a wall while calling it a Twat is un-avoidable right?) I have been once again left bereft of a phone, save for my landline. But in the last few weeks I’ve noticed a few weird things, and I’d like to share them with you now, things like…
People Treating Me As If I’ve Contracted A Fatal Disease.
After week three of being without a phone I got a call on the landline from my Mum, she was worried because I hadn’t been replying to texts and because when she called it went straight to answer phone. I’m not going to get into the fact that even though she purported to be worried about me it still took her three weeks to call (Thanks Mo-om!), but when I told her that my phone had kissed a brick wall intensely and passionately she responded ‘Are you okay? What are you going to do?’ like I had just told her I had contracted Ebola.
My brother was exactly the same, telling me that ‘I had to get it sorted as soon as possible’, like I had caught Syphilis and if I didn’t get some antibiotics soon my face would fall off. It’s just a phone, this is the 21st century, there are a myriad of ways to get hold of someone, email, Facebook, MSN, the landline, you could write a letter, if you’re feeling particularly ornithological you could use carrier pigeon, it’s not like those 11 digits are the sole way of communicating is it?
At some point I expect to be watching TV and see an advert with my family and friends impotently trying to use their phones to call me, and a well-meaning actor doing a voice over telling the good British public that ‘for just £11.99 a month you could sponsor a man like Charlie, and give him the freedom to be texted at any time of day or night, just £11.99 will give Charlie the tools to check Facebook anytime anywhere, please call this number today.’
It doesn’t end there though because people also assume that you can’t complete the simplest of tasks without a phone, for instance, I have to be at work by 5:30am, and when my boss found out I didn’t have a phone he went into full panic mode, ‘but how will you wake up?’ he asked. So I had to describe to him this machine the ancients used to force themselves awake to tend their bushels of grain or whatever it is people did back in the days of yore, the Alarm Clock. Or Ye Olde Alarme Cloke, to give it its proper name. Its like phones have become such a powerful and multipurpose device that even the thought of something else being able to do the same job is total anathema to our minds.
But of course this isn’t to say that being ‘sans phone’ isn’t without its annoyances, such as…
Meeting People Becomes A Herculean Feat Of Logistical Skill.
I’m not talking about making new friends here; I’m not really one for meeting new people anyway, I’m talking about meeting up with the people I already know. For Instance when I was planning a trip down to my hometown for a weekend, I had to revisit all those skills I thought I had left in the 90’s, things like, pre-arranging times and meeting places, organising my time so that I was punctual (not an easy thing for me to do I can assure you), and writing phone numbers on scraps of paper so that I can call people when I inevitably fail at punctuality (My family staged an intervention when I was caught scrolling EBay for Filofax’s).
The problem with all this is that I am plagued with single-mindedness, I can literally complete one task at a time, if I try any more my brain turns to goo and I’m left shivering on the floor in a pool of my own urine. Even when I’m cooking, I have to complete all my chopping first, then I do boiling, then frying, so trying to keep track of times, and numbers, and people, and trying to co-ordinate my day so that I am in the right place at the right time has left me smelling faintly of urine on more than one occasion, especially when you consider the fact that…
The Availability And Condition Of Public Phone Boxes Is Shocking.
Look I get it, the future is now, and virtually everybody in the western world has a mobile these days, this renders the humble phone box practically obsolete and other than Superman, junkies, and the occasional person in need of a good bladder emptying, who uses phone boxes?
Well, Me, that’s who!
When I’ve been out and about on my travels sometimes I’ve needed to call someone, and whenever I’ve needed to do this over the last few months first I’ve had to find one, time for some audience participation, when was the last time you saw a phone box? Can you locate it? Imagine it in your mind, now blow it up! Yeah, phone boxes have been disappearing at an exponential rate, so all those phone boxes you used when you were out of credit fifteen years ago are probably not there anymore.
So once you actually find one (it took me half an hour to do this on one afternoon), you have to face the humiliation of searching through your wallet for the scrap of paper with all your numbers on, or dig through your Filofax depending on whether or not your family are Filofax Nazi’s who stop you from buying such an item (Thanks again Mo-om!!). Then you have to suffer even more humiliation by entering one, honestly, I’d receive less dodgy looks if I entered a sex shop wearing nothing but a tutu with I LOVE NIPPLE CLAMPS emblazoned across the front.
So you go through all of that, get your 60p to put it in the machine, and find out it only takes phone cards, so you find another, phone cards, and another, and another. It’s like BT one day just said ‘F**k it, no one uses these things anyway, let’s just make them phone card only then we won’t have to piss about with all those 20 pence’s.’ Then they all had a line of cocaine and went to lunch.
Like I say, I can’t really complain, I know that I’m in the tiny minority of people who don’t own a mobile, it’s simply not profitable for BT to keep operating payphones just so I can call someone to say I’m running half an hour late because I got distracted by a fairly amusing squirrel.
But one thing I can complain about is the utter bell end that I discovered (after wandering around Weymouth for an hour to find a payphone that accepted, you know, money and s**t) had got some bolt cutters or something, and clipped the receiver from the torso of the phone! Two things went through my mind, one, why would someone want the receiver of a public pay phone; do those things get a good price on EBay? Is there some kind of underground payphone receiver black market I’m un aware of?
Two, Why would anyone go to those sort of lengths to steal something so ridiculous it’s the kind of thing you might conceivably look at while drunk or something and go yeah, I’ll nick that. But in order to complete the task you would actually have to go home, find your bolt cutters, then come back, I don’t know about you but my commitment to a kebab can waver in the space of two minutes when I’m drunk, let alone my commitment to random acts of vandalism.
So yeah, these are some of the things I’ve noticed, but in many ways it has been nice to be without a phone. If I go out I know I’m not going to be disturbed, I’m able to be much more ‘in the moment’ with people because I don’t have the availability of distraction, but the time has come for me to join the land of the living and buy a new phone. I’ve ordered the sim card, now I’m just waiting for someone just like you to call 0800 GIV-A-FONE and pledge just £11.99 a month, please, call today, I’m proper skint…