Is there something in the terms and conditions of your average smartphone contract that requires the user to have it on display at all times? Is it just impossible to resist playing with these things constantly? Or is it just me? Have I been away so long that I’ve got no-one to call/sms/e-mail/Facebook/tweet every 5 minutes? Or are these people browsing through their latest apps?
I honestly think that at least 25% of the people I see with the offending object clamped to their ear are not even talking to anyone. They just don’t feel complete without the phone as an appendage to their thick heids!
With others it’s the keypad that’s key! They just can’t help tap-tapping away – obviously without their phone they would look pretty stupid with their thumbs waving about in thin air!
Then there’s the ones that have to do it while they are walking about – just as you are about to follow one onto an escalator, they pause to hit a complicated sequence of buttons. Or worse, they stop just as they get off, causing you to choose between joining them in their shoes or backstepping into the growing pile of people behind you. I even sat beside a lady in the mall who ate her lunch and chatted to her friend (who was sitting opposite her) all with her smartphone held tightly against her left ear-hole.
Today, for instance, on a 40 minute MRT journey in Singapore I spotted no magazines, no books, a couple of newspapers and about 30 folk fiddling with their bloody phones!
While I’m on the subject of phones, another thing that I find extremely irritating when flying is that people find it absolutely necessary to keep their mobiles switched on till the very last minute. Then, as soon as the plane touches the ground, everyone switches on again, even though the crew have just said don’t switch phones on till inside the terminal building. Can people not bear to be incommunicado for any length of time at all? You land at the end of a long flight, you’ve been trapped in a small space with screaming children, sitting with the remains of your meal tray in front of you for far longer than you would like. And now you have to wait as huge trolley cases come dangerously close to your head as they are retrieved from the overhead bins, listening to the constant bleeping of text messages coming through as mobile phones are switched on all around you.
To think I was actually thinking of getting one of these things. My seven year old Nokia’s screen was so scratched I couldn’t read incoming texts. Luckily, most of the texts I get are in Greek and from Vodaphone so it didn’t matter. But then the screen cracked completely and I did give some thought to buying a new phone. One that would take photos, play music – even connect me to the internet! Then I found a wee shop in Hong Kong who could replace the whole Nokia casing – a new clear screen and shiny new buttons – all for £2.50! No contest. Here’s looking forward to another seven years, smartphone free!