Friday, 17 April 2015



Okay, I am the first to admit I am an IT dinosaur and a techno nerd. But that is not the main reason why mobile phones (cell phones) and I do not get along.

   I cannot stand the things! Let me tell you why.

   It all started about 20 years ago when I was working for a transportation company and part of my role was to travel interstate regularly. So there I was one particular morning at Melbourne airport in a Departure Lounge, dutifully lining up at the back of a long queue about to board a plane for Sydney.

   I was distracted by a noticeably loud voice carrying on a one-sided conversation. I looked around me to see who was making all the noise. Weaving in and out of the queue, was this businessman encircling the passengers to ensure he got maximum exposure. In his hand was an object that looked like, and seemed as large as, those chunky walkie-talkies you see in World War 2 movies. Do you remember when mobile phones were big, unwieldy units when they were first introduced?

   Well, there he was shouting into the thing, no doubt to make sure everyone within range could see and hear what an important big-shot he was. After he had wandered past me for the third time, I said indignantly, “Give it a rest!” But he was so self-absorbed with his performance, he did not even hear me.

   Of course, since the 1990s mobile phones have shrunk dramatically in size and their usage has grown exponentially, so much so that if people discover you haven’t got one, they look at you with a mixture of distrust, contempt, pity, horror and disbelief. It’s even worse than the reaction I get when people discover I am a vegetarian!

   “You really do not have a mobile phone? How can you possibly get by without one?”

   Short answer – easily!

   It seems to me that that the world has gone mad with mobile phone mania. They are all-pervasive. There is no escaping them and the idiotic one-sided conversations that are afflicted upon you in public places, restaurants, public transport etc. are nauseating.

   Remember the days when people had private conversations in public telephone booths? When our pensive moments were not disrupted by some twerp’s mobile phone’s ring, buzz, song, idiotic jingle, shout, hysterical laughter or squawks going off when you are travelling on public transport? If that is not enough, invariably there is a scramble by the recipients of the call as they try to find their phone in their handbag, pocket or back-pack and eventually blurt out their joyous acknowledgment that someone has bothered to connect with them! Very often their voices are so loud, overflowing with happiness and excitement, you wonder why they bother to use their phone. Surely if their caller is within a radius of a couple of miles, they would clearly hear every word without the necessity of a phone?

  Then all of us fellow travelers are subjected to every inane word uttered by these inconsiderate twerps as we collectively pray that 1. the conversation will be short; or 2. the phone’s battery will go flat; or 3. the person will get off at the next stop. Regrettably, it has been my unhappy experience that very rarely do any of these things actually occur.

   People seem to be obsessed with their mobile phones. They are constantly in their hands as they check something here, tweak something there, or they are rabbiting away texting. Thank god, we are not compelled to read the drivel that people must be texting to each other!

   And it is now taken for granted by service providers and other organizations that everyone has one of these devices. Whenever you’re registering for something, especially over the Internet, it is becoming increasingly mandatory to provide a mobile phone number. For example, some time ago I tried to arrange to set up a Gmail account with Google. Easy, except they only text or voice mail the codes (whatever they are) to a mobile phone number, otherwise bad luck Charlie. Is this discrimination or what?

   Apart from this kind of unfair discriminatory inconvenience, life is far less complicated for me without a mobile phone. So far, no disaster has befallen me, my friends or my family simply because I refuse to embrace this technology. Besides, what with the ever-increasing number of technical gizmos constantly being added to mobile phones, I am sure that the stress of trying to master the unfathomable, would send me to an early grave.  


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