I have decided to come clean: I am addicted to my phone...
No, not THAT phone, not the mobile phone which snuggles
in the depth of my handbag where I can never hear it ringing, the one on which if I were so inclined (and, more importantly, had the time) I could play games like Candy Crush and Fortnite, the one for which I pay £15 a month and which rebukes me, week
on week, on account of how little air time I have been using.
I’m talking about the “real” phone, the one which sits on its perch on the
hall table and keeps me in touch with family and friends. What would I do without it?
There are, to be fair, a few problems. We signed up some months ago for a
call blocker, worn out as we were by constant callers telling us that we had had an accident in our car (we hadn’t) or that our computer had been invaded by aliens (it hadn’t) or that we were entitled to an enormous payout on missold PPI (I’ve
already investigated that and, sadly, we aren’t due a windfall any time soon. Or later.) The call blocker has worked wonders, we haven’t had a nuisance call since it was installed. Unfortunately we are finding that some of the calls which have
been blocked are actually from people we would like to talk to. So far, I haven’t been able to work out a way around this.
Mostly, however, the phone is
the main means by which I can chat away to my heart’s content to my Nearest and Dearest. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters usually messages me first: “Time for a chat?” she enquires. Reader, such is my addiction to the phone, I never
say no. Not even when The Repair Shop is on and I really want to watch the Truly Wonderful Will restore an old desk to its former glory, or the Teddy Bear Ladies bring a sad-looking bear back to life, tying a bright blue ribbon round its neck after all their
washing, stitching, and stuffing. The opportunity to chat to one of my Best Beloved trumps all.
Take this afternoon. First I have a long conversation with the
Youngest of the Darling Daughters, covering all the news from her own darling daughter who is out Down Under at the moment. Apparently in the six weeks or so since she has been in the Land of Oz, she has broken no fewer than three pairs of sunglasses. I mean,
how did she manage that? Though, when you come to think of it, why break one pair of sunglasses, when you could break three? Plus, I wouldn’t have known anything about the Breaking of the Sunglasses, were it not for the telephone.
Because I have been chatting on the telephone, I haven’t got around to peeling the potatoes or putting our dinner in the oven - but, as I have explained, the telephone
is King in our house. I tell Mr B that today’s dinner will be a little later than usual but that he is not to worry as Everything Is In Hand. Mr B doesn’t seem too worried, so long as he does actually get fed.
I start preparing the potatoes, turn the oven on to 170 degrees - and the phone rings. It is the Eldest of the Darling Daughters ringing to make arrangements for a visit on her younger daughter’s
birthday at the end of July. You are thinking that I could have asked her to call me back but that would go right against the grain. The phone has rung, I have answered it. Dinner will just have to be delayed a little longer....
When I was working as a journalist, many years ago, the phone was the main instrument by which I made initial contact with the people I needed to interview. I am sure my addiction to the phone dates
back to those days. Thanks to a most enlightened employer, I was able to work from home, somehow balancing work and home life in a way which I suspect wouldn’t be allowed today. I still remember the phone call I made to the Mother Superior in a local
convent which had been hit by fire.
“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” she enquired, sweetly but just faintly censoriously, “but
are you ringing from a - public house?” The critical emphasis on the words “public house” came loud and clear over the phone line.
know what would be worst - to say I was in a pub or to admit the truth: that was no raucous crowd of beer-swillers she could hear in the background - it was my family....