The Man Who Didn't Have A Mobile Phone

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Stephen Whiteside
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The Man Who Didn't Have A Mobile Phone

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:51 pm

The Man Who Didn't Have A Mobile Phone

© Stephen Whiteside 18.01.2012

Once upon a time there was a man who did not have a mobile phone. In fact, he had never had one – other than for a brief time after he was given one as a gift. Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – it had gone missing for a number of months. Eventually it was found in the glove box of the man’s car. He gave it to his son, who needed a new one.

Was this man a complete Luddite? One who rejected all new technology? Not really. He enjoyed computers. He loved the internet, Wikipedia, Google, Email. Facebook was not beyond him, although it failed to excite him much. But he had always coped with a landline, and saw no reason to change.

Truth is, he was put off mobile phones for life way back in a time before they had even been invented. He had worked as a resident medical officer in a public hospital for a number of years, and was required to carry a ‘beeper’ or pager. This meant he could be called any time of the day or night. And he hated it. With a passion. So when the time came to purchase a phone that offered to do exactly the same thing, he most strenuously avoided it. It was almost a phobia for him.

Gradually, as more and more people acquired mobile phones, he began to see himself as the odd man out. Which was odd in itself. Why did people choose voluntarily to place such nooses around their necks? Didn’t they value their privacy? Their freedom? Their right not to be interrupted from whatever they were doing at any time? He didn’t get it.

The man had worked in hospitals, as I have already said. He understood what emergencies were. Life and death situations, when seconds counted. Very few of the people who purchased mobile phones were ever contacted in true emergencies. It was a matter of convenience only. Or, in his case, inconvenience.

So what did he do? Well, he did what he had always done. If the phone rang, he answered it. Assuming he could find it, of course. Once upon a time, the phone had always stood in the one place, but these days it was cordless, which meant it could have been left anywhere in the house. Sometimes it had stopped ringing by the time he had found it. This was frustrating. Such was the nature of progress.

In the past, he had been inclined to ignore the answering machine. This tended to provoke irritation on a number of fronts, however, and in recent times he had found it generally easier, and fairly painless, to check it on a routine basis. He had grown up quite happily without an answering machine, but he did understand that some things change with time. He was not a complete blockhead.

So how did the family of the man who didn’t have a mobile phone cope? Well, they managed. They adapted to their unusual circumstances. Sure there were times of irritation. Some unnecessary car trips were made every now and then. There were some small inefficiencies, it is true. But they coped. They respected his decision not to have a mobile phone – sort of. And the man who didn’t have a mobile phone lived happily ever after…
Last edited by Stephen Whiteside on Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: The Man Who Didn't Have A Mobile Phone

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:08 pm

I get it Stephen - I hate them too - mine usually has a bat flattery which defeats its purpose

Is there any reason why you duplicated some of the paragraphs ? Echo effect perhaps :lol: :lol: You get that with mobile phones
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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: The Man Who Didn't Have A Mobile Phone

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:58 pm

Thank you for pointing that out to me, Maureen. Something weird happened when I posted it.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
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Neville Briggs
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Re: The Man Who Didn't Have A Mobile Phone

Post by Neville Briggs » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:49 pm

A good story Stephen. It might give the teenagers nightmares, to contemplate a unimaginable monster who did not want a mobile phone. :)

The horror of modern communications tyranny started at work for me with the fax machine. How I loathed the fax machine.

I think your piece is imaginative and witty and I like the way you have related to contemporary culture.
Last edited by Neville Briggs on Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: The Man Who Didn't Have A Mobile Phone

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:01 pm

Thanks, Neville.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
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