Friday, August 17, 2018

People


Mobile phones: assets or liabilities?
September 2004 46

GIVEN their ease of transportation, they could become the terror weapons of the 21st century.

They can be carried anywhere, used in most forms of transportation and are reasonably cheap to purchase.
I am talking about mobile phones. Doesn’t it terrify you, when a young man in a Mercedes sports car flashes past you on the inside, mobile stuck to his ear, as he tries to emulate Michael Schumacher?
Does it not make you want to hit someone, when a mobile starts to ring in a cinema, at a cricket match or at a tennis game? Doesn’t it make you irritated, when you are standing in the tunnel leading to the aircraft, when some yuppies, suithanger over his shoulder, starts giving instructions to some poor person on the other end of the phone, whom he has probably woken at two o’clock in the morning?
The latest news is that in a couple of years time, most airlines will have modified their cabins and passengers do not then have to rent the in-chair cellphones, as the Americans call them, but can use their own.
Here in the Gulf, for some inexplicable reason – maybe they need to show the world they are busy – housewives seem to make a habit of talking on their mobiles, while shopping for groceries in the supermarkets. I often wonder, if they realise, they remind the rest of the shoppers of some episode from the TV series, Absolutely Fabulous? At least they are good for a laugh.
Drop into a café for a coffee and as soon as a single person, male or female, arrives, they whip out their mobile and call someone just to prove that they are not really alone, they have a friend online. This syndrome is almost like when young children have an imaginary friend.
I was recently travelling in the UK by train on the GNER line, which are very nice and clean express trains. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they offer a special coach for mobile phone users. Now that is a grand idea.
My husband acquired a brand-new English car with built-in phone, but could never get it to understand his English – well, he is from the North of England! Eventually he changed it out for an American model with no phone much to my relief, as I do not believe anyone should talk on the phone in a car, cordless or not.
Having managed to find a programme, which diverts most of the spam I receive on the internet – mortgages, special medicines, secret CDs, that sort of spam –  I now find, I am being “spammed” with text messages on my mobile phone. What a joy to use the old-fashioned manual phones at home without any pictures popping up or intrusive messages.
In our home we have gone telecommunications mad with three landline phones, fax machines, two computers and two mobile phones. My husband’s mobile is on 24 hours a day, as he has to keep in touch with agencies around the globe at all times. Of course, a mobile phone does not indicate where the owner is located at the time of a call, so we have had calls from Australia, New Zealand and the US during the night with both of us afterwards struggling to get back to sleep.
What I would like to know
is this: what did all these
millions of mobile phone users do with the time they spend on their phones, before mobile phones were invented? Did
they spend their time searching for telephone kiosks? Or scribbling messages on telegrams?
And have you noticed, there is now a certain status attached to the size of your mobile phone? Bigger is not better, it appears, the smaller the phone is, the more modern it is.
What about the bills? Telephone debts have become
an integral part of the monthly expenses for most people and talking is not cheap, for we
know that the tele-communications companies are among the most profitable organisations in the world.
I suppose mobile phones are desirable, perhaps even a necessity – sorry, I have to go now, my mobile phone is ringing…




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