Even old folks need their phones

posted in: Life and things | 1

I reckon Peter and I would have been amongst the earliest crop of folk to take up mobile phones. That was in the very early nineties, when phones were phones, computers were computers and the two didn’t coexist. Except maybe on a desk. They didn’t fit in your pocket too well, either. We used them mainly for work, especially Peter, especially during peak mail times like Christmas.

They’re useful gadgets to have, just as phones, let alone what else you can do with them these days. I can recall quite a few occasions (when I was a much younger person) when a mobile phone would have saved a lot of anxiety, like that time the man in my life (not Peter) couldn’t pick me up at the agreed time. I walked to a phone box (remember those?) and called home but he wasn’t there. it was getting dark, so I walked several kilometres to the highway and caught two buses home. No, I wasn’t happy. But it wasn’t his fault.

Which sends me back another decade or three. We didn’t have a phone in the house until I was about twelve. Remember those? You picked up the receiver and you dialed a number. No wandering around whilst talking – the receiver was attached to the phone. Did you know you can buy these things? Here’s a link.

Before that piece of high tech, if we really had to phone anybody, we walked over the road to the local phone box. There were even times you had to wait in line because the box was occupied.

Communication is so much easier these days.

But while both of us still have mobile phones, they spend a lot of time sitting on our desks. Back in the day Pete would have felt uncomfortable without his phone. Not anymore. We both have to specifically remember to take our phones with us if we go out.

Indeed, in these days of covid, it is becoming effectively mandatory. In Queensland, signing into a business with paper and pen is no longer legal. Businesses must have the Queensland QR code app, and guests must scan in. At least there aren’t fourteen different QR apps to navigate. I read recently that having to sign into a venue is going to include supermarkets. It’s not a bad idea but in the smaller ones, how will it be policed? And are you sent home if you forgot your phone or don’t have one?

Then there’s the proof of covid vaccination. Once you’ve had your second shot, Medicare produces a nifty pdf document for you which you can access through the internet. I have worked out how to have that pdf readily available on my phone’s desktop without having to do any logging in and navigating. But not everyone can manage that. And what happens if (heaven forbid) you don’t have a mobile phone?

I was rather hoping that Medicare would create a little app that sits on your phone and holds your vaccination certificate. I’m still rather hoping that’s done. And I’m also wondering why the Government hasn’t organised for a vaccination card to be sent out, a bit like the flimsy cards sent to pensioners as proof of entitlement. Although the numbers are declining, there are still plenty of people out there who don’t own a mobile and wouldn’t know how to use one if they did.

It’s the way of the world, I suppose. Everything is accessed via your computer. Remember phone books? We used to get two; the white pages and the yellow pages. I haven’t seen one of those for years. Then there’s manuals. They used to come in the box, with your new printer/software/appliance. Not anymore. You get a large piece of paper explaining how to setup your new purchase. Pick the relevant language. For anything more you’re directed to the website to download the user manual. Use your own paper and ink if you want a hard copy. But at least you’ll get the latest version.

Ah well. That’s this week’s navel-gazing finished.

On the writing front my latest story is developing. I’m enjoying the process, which is a huge plus. If you’d like to learn more, sign up for my book-related newsletter.

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  1. Maureen Irvine

    I remember, as a young girl, having to teach my father how to use the phone box down the road from us. šŸ™‚ How things have changed!

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