One of the blessings of today’s living is that I have a smartphone in my pocket. And one of the worst things about today’s living is that I have a smartphone in my pocket.
People know how to get hold of me. There are emails to be read. Or blogs. Or websites. And don’t get me started on social media and about everyone who has an opinion that feels the need to share it. They’re almost as bad as people who write columns in newspapers about the life of today.
If you look around on a bus, a train, in a restaurant, in a doctor’s waiting room — anywhere two or more people gather, everyone is on their phone. Even at family gatherings now, after the greetings and the hugs, the shaking of hands and the pleasantries before the unpleasantries, the next question invariable is: “Sorry, what’s your wifi?”
If you’ve gone to the trouble of changing the router password from the indecipherable and impossible to remember code supplied by the manufacturer to something that you can actually remember, you’re instantly judged as a moron or an idiot when you share it with those who ask for the wifi password.
“It’s I like cheese, one, two, three, all lower,” the host mutters — with no spaces of course. (Of course there’s no spaces, the little house of full of guests asking for wifi codes).
“Oh?” comes the reply with almost an air of snobbery from someone who might have the intellectual wherewithal to be able to remember a string of alphanumerical code with at least two numbers and a special symbol.
“Yes,” the host says. “I like cheese.”
“That’s cute” or some other smug reply is uttered.
Asking for a wifi code now when guests arrive is as commonplace now as politely asking: “Excuse me, would you mind telling me where the bathroom is?”
The ironic thing is, of course, if that these guests have been invited into your home now to socialise, to make small talk, to update the extended family on who’s doing what, how Grandaunt Lucy’s hip replacement went, and why little Johnny actually didn’t get the place he wanted in the university he selected because he spent too much time on playing games on his smartphone in the first instance.
I wonder if there’s an etiquette when it comes to plugging in a charger while you’re visiting someone’s home.
“Oh, I like cheese, one, two, three, no spaces, all lower,” comes the belittling reply, then the sudden change of attitude. “Would you have a plug for this,” they say, handing you a charger.
Yep, you nod, knowing exactly where you’d like to put the charger, but find a place in the kitchen after pulling out the toaster and the microwave.
And when everyone is settled in and the small talk begins, there’s always a pompous idiot who keeps checking his or her device. “Sorry, I have to check this. I’m sorry,” they say, just as your cousin is trying to explain why little Johnny didn’t get the automatic place in the university of his choice — all because he spent too much time on his smartphone.
When my phone rings, it’s the theme tune from Game of Thrones. It’s unique, and I know when it’s my phone. But when any other phone rings, everyone stops and looks at their devices almost in unison, as if they’re important enough to be interrupted at the family gathering.
“Sorry, got to take this,” they say with an apology tinged with the smugness of self-importance.
From now on, my family gatherings will be mobile-free. And my wifi password? It’s 1wonttellU.