24/7 contact

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

– Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) in Gone With The Wind

Right now, it is really hot. The last thing I want to do is sit here and write this blog post – but I made a commitment (if only to myself) that I would write something every day. So, here I am. Obviously, I do give a damn about ensuring I keep true to my commitment.

I will admit to never having watched Gone With The Wind. I know the quote and, after a tiny bit of googling, I sort of know its context, but none of that matters because the minute I saw these words I knew I could write something about them.

The first thing that springs to mind is the use of mobile phones. I am not talking about today’s smartphones which, for the tech-savvy, have multiple uses. (For me, the uses come down to email, text messages, internet stuff, photos and games; this only scrapes the surface.)

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The phones I am talking about are the old Nokia style phones: no touch screen, no photos, no internet, text messages, and cool games like Snake. And phone calls.

Yes, phone calls. When I went to Japan in 1998, mobile phone use in my part of Australia was limited to those big brick phones (which you needed two hands to lift to your ear, according to my father) and a small number of yuppies who had mobiles. When I returned to Canberra in 2000, all of a sudden (it seems) everyone had mobile phones. From what I observed, they were solely used for ringing someone randomly to find out where they were.

“Hey, it’s me. Where are you?”

Or, “Oh hey … yeah … I’m just walking into Coles.”

I was at a loss as to why people needed this information, and why they needed to be in contact 24/7.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

I swore I would never get one of those things.

Famous last words!

Sitting in a coffee shop not long after I got back, I was waiting for a friend. We were meeting at 2pm. I waited … and waited … and waited. Eventually, after waiting too long, I left. Arriving home, I rang her on my landline to see what had happened.

“I am so, so sorry. I was at Mum’s and we got caught up watching the swimming and lost track of time.” It was the Sydney Olympics. “If you had a mobile phone, you could have rung me.”

I went out the next day and bought one.

Frankly, my dear, I DO give a damn about some things … like keeping up with the times.

However, sometimes I am still not convinced about mobile phones.

I still don’t like being ‘on tap’ 24/7. For this reason, I turn my phone off before I go to bed, and I tend not to answer it if I am at home.

They tend to be a bit of a time soak and a great excuse for procrastination; I just HAVE to check Facebook/emails/the weather …

Most of all, I constantly have random people ringing me to sell me something, ask me silly questions or try to convince me that I have been fined for some crime I didn’t commit.

I do not give a damn about these people, their causes, their goods/services or their scams.

On the other hand, I certainly do give a damn about having my time wasted in this way. Which is why I have invested in a whistle. I probably won’t use it, but the thought is amusing as I’m damn sure I wouldn’t get a repeat call.


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