Arrival: My Mobile Phone


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I understand our American cousins call their mobile phones cell phones. I can well understand why they do so. The operation of one of these contraptions can lead folk of my generation straight into a cell of the padded variety.

All I want my phone to do is to make and receive calls, perhaps text (not predictive please, I want to be in control, not the phone) and furthermore, I want a small book of instructions that I can read and refer to when learning how to operate my phone.

I do not need it to take photos, I have a perfectly good little camera if I want to do this and neither do I want it to have multiple apps, whatever they are. Yes, contact numbers are useful and how to put these numbers into my phone would be explained in the aforesaid instruction booklet. Even more useful would be a method of wiping contacts that are no longer relevant to my needs.

My present phone defeats me as it seems I cannot delete one number without deleting the lot! Yes, I know there must be a way of doing it but, as yet, I have not discovered it and as a result accidentally dialled the number of a dear gentleman, fairly recently deceased, who, in what I can only describe as a fit of pique, completely failed to answer my call.

As well as being in control of my contacts, I would like to be able to have a simple method of switching my phone on and off. Before COVID, when air travel was still possible, I lived in fear of being responsible for the deaths of all of my fellow travellers by interfering with the navigation of the aircraft, place your phone into Flight Mode before take-off, they say. I try, I really do, but I still worry. And then there are the signs requesting one to switch off your phones when talking to doctors or trips to the cinema. I tend to just pray no-one will attempt to contact me at these times. I am reassured when during T.V interviews etc. someone’s phone rings and I realise I am not the only person on the planet who has not mastery over this piece of modern technology.

Have you noticed that more and more people are abandoning their landlines and only retaining their mobiles? Fine for them, they are obviously far more intelligent than your humble scribe, but whilst I have no problem in remembering the number of my landline, in fact, I can give you the number of my phone when I was a little girl, 686726, but do not try ringing it, nobody is home, but when asked for my mobile number I go blank. Which brings me to another drawback of mobiles, deciding if it is my phone that is ringing or yours, and then, if it is mine, rummaging for it in the deepest, darkest recesses of whatever bag it is hidden. If I do catch it in time, I have to attempt to answer it. If a green receiver is displayed I just tap it and we are fine but sometimes, and I have never worked out why, instead of the receiver I get two vertical lines, one red and one green which I am supposed to swipe. When I see this I know I am doomed to failure! Do I swipe to the left or swipe to the right, do the Hokey Pokey and shake it all about? I often do this in sheer terror.

I was beside myself when the government exhorted us to put on the COVID app and we were told what bad citizens we were if we did not immediately do so. They must have spent thousands of dollars on that campaign but did they spend any money at all on showing us HOW to put on this app? No! Or how to operate it when it was on, of course not! Or how to get rid of this seemingly useless piece of technological junk? You must be joking! And as for the builtin obsolescence of your average mobile, I despair. Who on earth wants a new phone every year or two so they have to go through the whole, gruelling process of learning how to fly the soand-so thing all over again. When I was young, (BM, before mobiles), we still managed to arrange our social lives and have phone conversations in privacy with our beloveds. Whilst not denying the usefulness of a mobile phone in some situations, all I am pleading for is the simplification of them and a book of instructions road-tested, not by someone who knows what to do in the first place, but by someone like me.