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I have issues with cell phones. Mind you, I have issues with most electronic devices. If it can’t be fixed with a hammer then it wasn’t properly built is the way of thinking from this grumpy Luddite.

Cell phones are especially bad because they are not only breakable they are also small and have to be carried around all the time. As such mine usually spend most of their working life held together with Gaffer tape. I also long since concluded that smart phones are not good things for the organisationally challenged, especially serial readers who discover Ebooks.

The latest example/victim of this was a cheap ‘traditional’ cell phone which suddenly decided it only needed to bother connecting for a couple of minutes a day. This was just after Beautiful Daughter got hold of the phone and spent five minutes changing all the settings and deleting most of the ring tones, so it may not have been me this time. Personally I could see the advantages to this situation, but society in general and my employer in particular have unreasonable expectations about contacting me, & if I’m paying the phone company for the privilege of making phone calls it seems a bit daft to keep using a phone that refused to do its main job.

In an effort to find a phone that survives longer than six months I ended up looking at “Building Site Phones”. To my frustration the only one I could afford was made in China but it is built along the lines of a brick and so far doesn’t seem to mind being dropped, so I’m hoping the environmental damage caused by shipping a collection of rare metals halfway around the world will be offset by its long service. It also has a torch powerful enough to signal helicopters which proves very useful for navigating around a dark theatre, and a thoroughly obnoxious and apparently unchangeable ring tone which may eventually annoy me enough that I actually look at the instructions to see how to replace it.

Or maybe I’ll just give it my daughter to play with instead.


Drivers: you may have noticed a lot of white stuff hanging about recently? That is called ‘fog’: It stops you from seeing quite so far as usual, I don’t know if you noticed. Actually, I suspect you probably didn’t, judging by the numbers of drivers who pass me while texting, reading their phones, navigators, and in one case a paperback.

However, take it from me, if you were to look up from these important activities, you’d probably notice the fog, or at least the fact you can’t see more than about a hundred metres.

In the circumstances, I’d like to ask a favour. No, don’t worry, I’m not silly enough to suggest you slow down, stop at red lights or even that you switch your phone off: I understand that your very important phone calls and text messages simply cannot wait until you reach your destination (how did society survive without your wisdom being constantly available?). My request is that you might, perhaps, consider turning your lights on when you are driving through the fog. Thus, when you are reading your text message/novel et c whilst racing toward or through the next set of red lights, we can see you and keep out of the way.

If this isn’t possible, could you at least refrain from the rude gestures aimed at us when we have the temerity to be occupying the road/pavement/cycleway/pedestrian crossing when you want to be driving on it. The reason we are interrupting your important journey (or conversation, or novel) is that we didn’t know you were there…

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