“And much it grieved my heart to think What man has made of man.”
I came across my dear dear friend Bob yesterday. He was standing by the mantelpiece like a gapeseed holding a tiny Motarolla flap phone. An easily befuddled chap he appeared to be deep in post-lunch confusion. He was holding this stray phone tenderly and was studying it intently; as if it was a delicate jewel from the Byzantium age.
His shoulders slumped, his blond hair defeated by a long day, and his tie tugged at wonky angle. He turned slowly and puffed out his big ruddy cheeks, his slightly sweaty face filled with a bucket of pathos.
“Wasn’t this enough?” he asked in an unusually soft voice.
“What” I replied.
“This telephone… It does all I ever wanted from a phone – rings, calls, and does the ghastly text message thing. Why did it have to change? Life that is. If we had stopped here and been happy, there wouldn’t be tubes of people doing THIS!” (He made the motion of a head down iPhone user flicking wildly at a screen) “and people ignoring the person sitting with you refusing to talk because they are on What Is Up(sic). They surf the net and on the odd occasion they notice the human being net to them, they turn, grin, and ask me if have seen this video on Facepaint(sic). No I haven’t old cock – I would rather watch endless interviews with ‘groovy’ Paul McCartney!
Bizarre drunken rant aside, Bob does have a point, for the phone is a metaphor for modern urban life.
The constant effort of manufacturers to ameliorate our ubiquitous goods is becoming tedious. They vainly try to recreate the wheel in every sector – read your paper online now, try this new exciting beer, and have an apple watch (I have absolutely no idea what this contraption does or what use humans have for it).
I am deeply aware that it is 2015 and the world is a developing and exciting arena to live in. We are blessed to be born in an age of technology rather than the caveman era; a glorious age indeed but I am losing the will to be excited by the constantly evolving tweaks on everything.
As a user of an iPhone and iPad I find myself extremely reliant on these gadgets. They are so integral that people can scarcely remember a time when one used pay phones or the use of the Internet was accompanied by that excruciating snarling digital crackle.
Nowadays the first question we ask when walk into a house isn’t “hello how are you?” but “I need Wifi – what is the pass word?”. We are terrified that if we go 20 seconds without seeing what Piers Morgan’s next tweet is, the world will end.
It is not only the internet that is slowly taking over our lives but bankcards too. The contactless cards are magnificent when one is buying groceries and want to pay speedily. However when I go on a night out they are a dangerous devise…only two years ago I loved waking up on the morning after the night before with a head like George Best – a rubble of memories running through my shattered brain – and over a coffee would take all of receipts out and retrospectively piece together my night. Nowadays I am sat with only my conscience for company and have to call my friends – on the new iPhone – assuming I don’t accidentally FaceTime them!
There is also a danger that the wonderful pound coin may soon be extinct – I was denied entry to an omnibus recently, despite having a wallet full of money, because I didn’t have a correct balance on my oyster card.
Indeed it would be a finer world without the forced technological utopia. We would read more books, look at the sky with awe, know the seasons by seeing which birds and flowers are around us, and maybe talk to humans more than tablets.
A romantic soul I am. The irony is that as the froth was building in the corner of Bob’s mouth his iPhone pinged and stopped him in full flow. He immediately checked and said to me
“Excellent…work e-mail – I must make this call”.
Even the Luddite is a slave to the cult of Now.