Saturday, 8 December 2012

Welcome to the 21st century!

Technology is advancing almost as fast as I can go through a family-size box of PG Tips, and after several years of attempting to escape from the torrent of touch-screens and other gizmos that seem to have neglected buttons, I have finally run out of steam. Yes, dear readers, this is the news that I have succumbed to the pressures and entered the era of the Smartphone. 

I look back with nothing but joy to those brickesque Nokia handsets. Those cheep and cheerful chunky lumps, with their flashing lights and pulsating vibrations. They were the very essence of what a phone should be. Oh, and did I mention that they had Snake? That might have been the most important thing. Perhaps ever. I shall have to do more research on that front, though, before I can provide you all with an accurate table of results. 

Putting nostalgia aside for one moment, I am rather enjoying this new phone. I write this with it on my lap. It’s gigantic screen staring happily back, waiting patiently until it has something to inform me of. It’s like having my very own little Jeeves! Whenever someone sees fit to contact me, it chirps merrily, advertising the recent social activity that has been channelled in my direction. I can use it to check my emails, my Facebook, Twitter, the lot. It is even kind enough to inform me of Sunderland’s increasingly poor results in the Barclays Premier League. How I wish it would stop doing that. I wonder if there is a setting somewhere that makes it only notify me if we win...
There is one thing that niggles me. It just seems to, well, do so much. You never get the feeling that it’s giving you it’s full attention. Whilst you’re writing a text, you know that it’s scanning your email inbox, checking the weather, updating Twitter, making you lunch, the list is endless. The only way I can possibly describe the sensation is by comparing it to having a conversation with someone you have bumped into for the first time in several years. On the face of things, they seem to be listening intently, responding with care and accuracy to your every syllable. But behind closed doors they are somewhere else. Thinking about last night’s MasterChef results, the bills waiting on the dresser, something like that. Although the conversation is pleasant, you never turn away feeling truly satisfied that they were fully interested. Ok, fine, it’s not exactly the same in this scenario, because I am quite grateful for the background work that the phone does, but the feeling is there. 

Setting the phone aside for the moment (metaphorically, of course, because as you will know if you have ever met anyone with a new technological instrument, they never put it down) there has been another technological advance in my life. Perhaps one even more drastic than the phone. Before I reveal what is is, I must warn you. If you judged me before, you will just have to judge me that little bit more now, because what I am about to tell you is quite a lot more than mildly embarrassing. I used an umbrella for the first time just two days ago. I know. How could I have survived in London for this long without one?! Before you launch a torrential rant in my direction, I’d just like to point out that nine times out of ten when I leave the house, I’ve always taken a waterproof coat with me just to be sure. I’m not that silly. Please note that there was a heavy emphasis on the word ‘that’. One wouldn’t want you to think that one has become sensible. No one would not. 

The experience of the umbrella was quite marvellous. The notion of not having to look like a prat in a ridiculous raincoat whilst keeping dry is quite a pleasant one. It’s just substituted for the danger of cutting your fingers on the ruddy clasps when you come to open your umbrella. Blasted things. Once you get it up, though, (innuendos aside, please) it’s rather wonderful. I’ve always loved the sound of rain against a window, and now with this new invention (in my life, at least) you can take it wherever you go! Hurrah! Some credit must go to the bloke who designed it. I shall inform Her Maj immediately to give one a knighthood.

That pretty much concludes my belated welcome into the 21st century. Now, let one resume counting down to the 12 days of Christmas. One expects all the lords to be leaping when it arrives. Keep calm all!