The Diary Entries of a Mild Misanthropist ( 3 )
Wednesday 17th September
More Mobile Phones
I guess there must be a deeper meaning behind man's wild, primeval desire to text. Maybe it's the inner need to remain in touch at all times with our fellow man or woman, or else plummet into a void of non-communication.
Yet it seems we only want human contact of any kind, on our terms... and our terms only.
For evidence of this, sit in the carriage of a train and observe the behaviour of people as they board and do the " I want a seat, but only if it's at least six kilometres away from where anyone else is sitting " shuffle.
Meanwhile, those already seated are performing their own dance of the unsociable zombies as they do the " I'll spread all my belongings out on the seats around me so that nobody sits near me " shuffle.
" Right.... I think I'll stick the rucksack on the seat next to me.... my coat can go on the seat opposite, an empty lunchbox on the seat diagonally across.... yep, that should do the trick! "
Heaven help you, if you actually have the nerve to ask this person whether you could use one of the seats. Expect them to look up at you as if you've just asked them to perform an emergency caesarian operation on your heavily pregnant cat.
The other day, I saw an extreme case of this where someone had filled the seats around him with a fridge, a washing machine, a large oak coffee table, a life-size ventriloquist's puppet and a lawnmower.
Now I realise the significance of the tannoy messages that say " Please ensure you take all your personal belongings with you when you leave the train. "
Some people are taking this a little too literally.
But what follows is the ultimate irony of this slightly anti-social behaviour. As one, these people pull their mobile phones from their pockets and spend the whole journey jabbing away at them, or waffling away not quite loud enough for those of us three carriages down to make out the whole conversation.
A discussion incidentally that consists of the following essential dialogue....
" Hi, what are you up to? "
" Nothing much, I'm ON THE TRAIN. What are you up to? "
" Nothing much....I'm ON A TRAIN too. "
( For some reason, the bit about being on a train is always emphasised a little louder than the rest of the conversation, just for the benefit of the rest of us who already know they are ON A TRAIN because we are sitting ON THE SAME FRIGGING TRAIN. )
The interaction continues......
" Right..... well see you later anyway. "
" Yeah, bye. "
Wow, who said the art of conversation was dead?
And what pearls of wisdom are exchanged via text?
" Alright, wot u up 2? "
" Nuffing much, just chilling. wot u up 2? "
" Nuffing much either, I'm ON THE TRAIN. " ( Yes, the last part is typed in capitals. )
" Cool, c u later. "
Well, thanks very much for that, just bursting with words of enlightenment and intelligence. If it was me participating in such communication, I think I'd need a lie down afterwards.
Saturday 20th September
Even more Mobile Phones
I had to buy a new one today. My old, cheap Nokia, a loyal and trusty friend for many years, finally breathed its last with one final ' beep ', bless it...... when I smashed it violently against the wall for not allowing me to beat my highest score at ' Snake '.
Walking into my local Carphone scarehouse, I had that sinking feeling that I would get lumbered with the 17 year old twerp with a badge bearing the name " Gaz " or " Daz " or some other stupid abbreviation that people like to adopt these days.
As i scanned the displays for the cheapest piece of junk I could find, I sensed the commission-rabid parasite sidling over to me.
" Good mornin' sir. "
I turned to see a 17 year old twerp, a badge announcing that he was called " Jase ", and a hairstyle clearly modelled on some kind of multi-coloured toilet brush.
" Yep, " I muttered, " need a phone. "
" Don't we all, " smart-arse piped up, " what would we do without one? "
Questionable logic, seeing as I could reel off an endless list for him.
But I was more troubled by the cocktail of smells that washed over me from his direction. It was a combination of ' Joop ' aftershave, Red Bull, Juicy fruit chewing gum, and a Burger King extra value meal. Pretty much what all 17 year old males stink of.
I assured him I would clear the vomit up before I left.
" So what kind of phone are you looking for, sir? "
" Err, a phone kind of phone. "
" Ookaay, " he said, in a manner that suggested my answer wasn't very helpful, which was pleasing because it wasn't meant to be helpful. " What I mean is, we like to ask our customers here to think about the kind of phone that would look good on them. Think of it as an item of clothing, how would you wear it? "
" Stuffed down the front of my underpants. "
" Er, well.... think of it more as a new shirt. "
" I don't want a new shirt, I want a phone. Is there another store around here that sells phones. "
I detected a faint sigh of defeat, and 17 year old twerp turned to his colleague behind the till.
" Baz, can I take a fag break? "
Slightly older twerp concurred and took over.
" So what kind of phone are you looking for, sir? "
two minutes later.....
" .....And we've got this one here, on which you can watch movies that haven't even been filmed yet, listen to all the top new albums before they've even been recorded, and eat as much as you like for just eight pound ninety-nine. There's also a mini bar in a little compartment next to the Sim card, click this button here and it transforms into a remote controlled Iron that presses your shirts for you on a Sunday evening, and on a Saturday afternoon it metamorphoses into Desmond Lynam and tells you what the football scores are. "
I'd always known this was going to be hard work.
" Look, what I would like is a tele-phone which-I-can-use-to phone-people-up-with, especially when I'm on a train where I can call someone up and tell them I'M ON A TRAIN. Can you help me with this, or is it too bizarre a concept for you to cope with. "
Slightly older twerp stared at me in shock, then gave his chin a thoughtful rub.
" Just to make calls with you say? "
" If you don't mind. I know it's asking a lot in a Mobile phone store, but I had to at least try. "
" Well.............. I suppose I could try and order one in for you. "
Not surprisingly, the day ended with me sipping rats piss in my local with a coat draped over my head.
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