Am I the only person in the western world who DOESN’T own a smart phone? Yesterday I was stopped in the street with the words: “Excuse me ma’am, can I just ask what phone you have?” Well, my first thoughts were: a) “I am NOT your mother”; b) “Oh! He was saying ‘ma’am’ not ‘mum’!”; c) “Am I really old enough to merit a ‘ma’am’?!”; and finally d) “What is this? Is he some sort of strategical con-man, trying to work out whether it’s worth mugging me or not?”.
When I finally made up my mind to respond with a simple, non-descript “Nokia”, he looked utterly baffled, mumbled an “ok” and walked off. Astounded by the sheer rudeness of it all, I made towards him in an attempt to ask why the hell he had asked me that question , until I suddenly realised that he was selling an iPhone app – which, of course, he had quickly noted would be of no use to someone like me: (a.k.a: a behind-the-times loser with no technological aptitude and therefore, a failure in life).
Oh, it may sound far-fetched and OTT but this is the reality we are facing. I kid you not, only a few weeks ago, I had a nightmare involving a Blackberry and, no, it wasn’t the juicy, jam-making kind. In my frankly horrific, nocturnal episode, I was offered a position at an extremely high-paid job, only to be fired for the simple reason that I didn’t know how to use a Blackberry.
Now, obviously, part of this dream reflects any graduate’s fear of never being professionally successful at anything, despite spending three or more years, and a hell of a lot of money on a university degree. However, I can’t help but think that it also highlights the impending threat of our potentially soul-destroying society, in which absolutely everything is focused on technological commodities. That is to say, not only does one need an undergraduate degree to get a job, but, in my view, there is also an implicit, word-less agreement that one must understand, and know how to, use, all of the latest technology as well.
In another recent episode (of my life, not my dreams), I found myself on a date with a man who seemed to love his iPhone more than he could ever love any woman! All three of us sat through dinner- that’s to say, him, myself and his iPhone – with the latter placed, perhaps strategically, a lot nearer to him than I was. When we finally exited the restaurant into an extremely pleasant, warm and balmy night in London’s Soho, I suggested that we simply take a (romantic) stroll until we came across a bar or pub that we liked the look of. Alas, this was not on the cards for Mr. Smart phone. Instead, he stopped dead in his tracks, got out his iPhone and started looking up reviews of various establishments in the local area. I was left alone on the street corner while he and the iPhone spent about 15 minutes deciding what the next best move would be. Did I feel desired, loved-up or swept off my feet? Hell no!! I felt like I was second best- to a piece of technology! I found myself wondering what on earth I was doing with this man and concluding that he’d clearly already found the One, complete with rechargeable batteries.
Am I being a bit old-fashioned here? Do I sound like the aforementioned behind-the-times loser? I bet some of you, if not all of you, to some degree, are thinking: “yes”. And don’t worry, a part of me is thinking the same thing. I may eventually have to acquire more up-to-date technology, in order to keep up with the times.. I wouldn’t want to be left behind in the world of paper books (oh the horror!) and phones with no internet (oh the hassle!), wearing maxi-dresses in a mini-dress era (horrific!), listening to Matt Cardle’s CDs on a walkman (that’s SOO last X-Factor!). However, I still long for a time when my lack of Blackberry or iPhone knowledge didn’t seem to affect me on a day-to-day (and evidently night-to-night) basis.
I feel, deep in my heart, that this must surely be a phase; that one day, just as the original 1970s maxi-dress trend came back into fashion this last year, in due time, the paper-book, old-school computer and crappy phone will once again become cool, therefore rendering me (yes me) cool. The only thing is, following my maxi-dress example; will I really have to wait 40-odd years for that to happen? Just think, by that time I could be a “ma’am”; a mum; and even a grand-mum. By then, ‘cool’ would have taken on a whole new meaning!
Oh, for the love of Nokia, I surrender!!
Any questions – I’ll be in the Carphone Warehouse talking to Dave, god of smartphones.