Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 6 November 2016
Take a message
My whole weekend has - and will be - taken up with iPhones. I am not going to talk about too it much now (a lie), as I know all you lot went through this stuff years ago, but H.I. and I have only just succumbed via a couple of old models, and H.I. never even got to grips with the primitive TELEHONES which she had from me as hand-me-downs.
Me to her: "Now listen - if you are serious about using a smartphone properly and doing what everyone else does (but not so much), then you MUST leave it switched on, and not just send a message or make a call, then immediately turn it off again so people cannot respond or reply."
Her to me (in a quietly resigned voice): "I know."
A couple of years ago, we were due to meet Green-Eyes at Paddington Station, and the place was so packed with people that I worried we would miss her at the ordinary meeting-place, so I left H.I. at the taxi rank and went to the escalator steps to intercept her as she got off the Tube, from which she would not get a signal to phone anyway.
I found myself talking to H.I. as if she was a child who should not be left on her own, telling her to stay where she was and turn her phone on so I could find her if we all got split up.
"I DON'T WANT TO TURN THE PHONE ON!"
"Then why did you bring it with you?"
"BECAUSE YOU INSISTED I DID!"
"Ok, but now you have brought it with you, please, please do me a favour and turn it on? Pretty please? Please?"
She has been dragged - almost literally kicking and screaming - into the 21st century, having been arranging to meet people under the clock-tower since she was a kid.
Last night as she was going to bed, I showed her the screen of my phone, which had a rotten American film playing on it with a man in a park dressed as a superhero.
"That," I proudly said, "Is live T.V."
This only depressed her even more, as we hardly ever watch T.V. because of the vast quantity of rotten American (and British) films. Psychologically, it was a bad move on my part.
A few hours previously, I showed her a map with our house in the centre, telling her that - nomatter where in the world it was - the phone always knows exactly where it is. "It is constantly talking to satellites," I told her. Another bad move.
"I find that very creepy," she said with a shudder.
I was using this keyboard the other day, when a shaft of bright sunlight hit it at an extreme angle, showing up some quite deep chips to a lot of the keys. I remembered that most of the letters and numbers on the keyboards of her phone had been virtually obliterated, and also remembered that she has very long, well-kept nails - which she uses to poke at the keys on a board, one by one, as she types.
When I bought the cases for these phones, they came with a little sensitised stylus for touching the very small keys on the onscreen boards of the iPhones. I have used mine quite a lot the last 24 hours, because my finger-tips are clumsilly large for such small keyboards, and I hate predictive text. H.I.'s will save the screen from being punctured by her fingers, I hope.
You know the classic depiction of the 20th century, lazy secretary who sits at a desk, filing her nails? How did they type on modern keyboards? Maybe this explains why you hardly ever see secretaries with long fingernails any more. I miss them - the others are too efficient.