I was early for my acupuncture appointment the other day so of course as I was waiting for the previous client to finish up I began fiddling with my iPhone. I had a quick look at the news channels and was running a check on twitter when the previous lady, who is a really pleasant friendly person, took one look at me scrolling away and said ‘what did we do before we got our mobile phones!’
I had to laugh because what did I do before I got a mobile phone. I had to think about it.
I have an early memory of visiting my Nan on a Sunday; you know the old family rituals. But at around 6.30 ish I think (I would have to ask mum this, Dad doesn’t remember things like this but ask him about an old engine…….) we called my grandparents in England. We didn’t have a phone at home ourselves at the time. Now this is the mid and late 1970’s not the dark ages for any of you younger readers. We didn’t get a landline phone until 1983 or 4. But this wasn’t terribly unusual.
I remember if mum needed to call her sisters we went to the phone box at the end of our road. There was always a queue. There were a few dotted around the town so this was a great way of catching up with some of the people who lived locally. That phone box queue was quite a sociable spot!
Sometimes if we were in a real hurry and couldn’t afford the wait at the box we used a neighbour’s phone. A 10p piece was left on the hall table for the call despite the protestations of said neighbour but this was correct phone etiquette. Looking back it seems a bit like Victorian calling cards and not being allowed to refuse a dance at a dance hall.
The landline arrived in time for me to be a pain in the ass teenager ringing my friends in the evenings after home work was done. Dad couldn’t get his head around how I just been in school all day with my friends but I still had to be hours on the phone to them in the evening when I would be back in school with them the next morning. Then when I was allowed out to discos it was one call after another we eventually went out and left the poor phone in peace.
I had friends and their parents locked the phones. There was a little purpose made lock for telephones. And of course there was a way of picking them too so they soon went out of fashion.
I got my first mobile sometime in ’01 I think or maybe late 2000, I’m not sure. I was first in our office to have one. It had the tinniest ringtone ever. At that time I worked with a real funny character who used to dance to the tune when it rang. The whole office used to look up when it started, it was such a novelty.
The next one I got had a setting where you could record a tune of your own. Each key had a sound like a mini keyboard and you could record your own ringtone. Mine sounded like a cross between a Middle Eastern dance and a wasp caught in a jam jar. That used to get a reaction but there were more phones in the office at that stage so it was more a case of ‘there’s the mad ones noise again’.
Fast forward to two Christmas’s ago and dad insisted on buying me an iPhone. He saw them being used in the stands when he was at soccer match and for some reason decided I needed one! Now I am not using it to its full potential but really I did fall in love with it pretty quickly. As I said twitter is a real addiction. I don’t tweet a lot but I love what the people I follow tweet and also when the bloggers I follow have a new post I can read them from twitter which is great. I love tweets with links like that!
Then there is the news apps, e reader apps, games, an invaluable notebook, guided meditation apps, it’s a real hobby toy.
I’m not a great one for texts. Or e mails for that matter. I prefer to call people. I’m still an old fashioned girl in that way. I just love talking. A LOT! I find texts and emails are easy to misinterpret. People need that human touch sometimes, that understanding from a friend who knows from your voice that you need to talk. And besides when the lady ahead of me at the acupuncture passed her funny comment, I could have taken it a number of ways, even as sarcasm if it was written and not said. It would have made for an interesting crossing of paths this week if that was the case.
So what did I do before mobile phones? Well I drove my parents mad, stood in the cold at a phone box which has now been replaced by a flower bed carried a purse full of change, ‘in case I need a phone box’, relied on the newspapers and 9’o clock news to see what was happening in the world and played a hand held battery operated space invaders game. Oh and mediated to cassette tapes on a walk man about the size of a small house brick. The cell phone world has its down sides but most things do, I suppose. Funny though for all my phone saves me in what I now don’t have to carry around I still have a handbag that weighs a bloody tonne!!!