Remember when we used to use public phones? God, we were dumb! Putting our coins in, talking for a bit, putting more coins in, hunting woolly mammoth; it’s so much better now we live in the future with our iPhones and blueteeth and hoverboards. There is a living relic of this ancient past on G Street, complete with a ‘phonebook’ (which doesn’t even have a search box, and people have clearly been writing their names on it to try). I have been meaning to draw this for a while, so I drew it during the sketchcrawl on G Street last Saturday. This being a historic neighbourhood, I can imagine it being used by early farm settlers, gold prospecters, maybe even local Native American tribes (before the invention of the smoke-signal app, obviously). I drew this in the Stillman and Birn gamma sketchbook, with a Micron pen and Cotman watercolours, and it took a little under an hour.
Do people even use phoneboxes any more? I barely even use my cellphone. I have a pay-as-you-go plan, which is not like the one I have on my still-active English phone (which still has the plan set up years ago on one-2-one, even has that logo on the screen!). No the one I have here means that you spend $25 to top it up fro three months. If you don’t add more money by the end of the three months, not only can you not use the phone but you lose whatever money you have left (and since I never use it, that’s usually most of it). If you renenw, it doesn’t just add three months onto whenever your three months is up, it just goes three months from whenever you topped up, so essentially you lose days, unless you renew right on the last day. Confused? I am. I have never liked mobile phones here. It’s just incredible to me that you get charged for receiving a call. That’s why I never give people my number, because I’ll never pick up if I don’t recognise it (for a while I was getting a lot of marketing calls, especially around the time of the election).
Speaking of cold calls, I hate those ones that have that pre-recorded message, “this is your final notification to renew your car insurance”, or some such, when yesterday and the day before and the day before that were the final norifications, and tomorrow too, all from companies I’ve never done business with. I hate the robots. At least with real people calling I can antagonize them a bit (sometimes I talk reeeeallllyyy reeeeeaaaallllyyyyy slowly), but even then my heart’s not in it, and I feel sorry for them. After all, everyone’s gotta work. I had to do it, once, for about a week and a half, many many years ago. It was not fun, and the guy running the show (I think he was called ‘Boyd’ or something) fancied himself as a bit of a hardnose, so I left to get a job as a male dinner-lady at a posh school. I remember one time, I made the marketing call, and ended up chatting to an old guy on the phone for about half an hour about his work (writing travel brochures), literature, travel, I forget now. Either way I didn’t sell him whatever it was they were selling. It cheered me up though. I sometimes wonder if those cold callers wouldn’t also fancy a nice long chinwag, a chat about the footy, or the state of modern television, just to ease the drudgery of their work. But if they do, I wish they’d stop calling me right in the middle of Jeopardy.
6 of 30, or half a dozen of the other. Mankind’s relationship with the mobile has been well documented. Some people appear to have the phone attached permanently to their ear. How they can find so much to talk about is beyond me. Others have those little bluetooth headsets and walk about the street appearing as though they are talking to themselves, which is perfectly acceptable these days. I often think about donating some of those earpieces to the street crazies who do walk about mumbling (well, yelling) to invisible companions, so that people will not think they are mental. What people don’t talk about however is that since the advent of cellphones and other such gadgets is that we are losing our memories. Not forgetting stuff per se, rather just not needing to memorize stuff. We have the capacity to memorize incredible amounts of information, but if we don’t need to, then those parts of our brain don’t just start working on other things, like wallpapering the skull or writing operettas; they lay dormant. We have the internet instantly accessible so that we can look things up whenever we want, negating the need to actually learn and retain things. Are iphones banned from pub quizzes? I bet it’s hard to enforce. Not long ago, people would remember and recount whole stories, now we look up the words to Humpty Dumpty. Years before, and I’m talking in early to mid medieval times (before general literacy) memory played an incredibly important role in law and government – what was said and remembered was every bit as credible as what was written down (these days we feel we need constitutions and statute books and so on – we see things differently in the modern age, where the written word is king). What ultimately will be the cost of us not needing to use those parts of the brain which were previously used for memory?
One of the things behind this series is for me to remember where I am right now, and to remember who I am as well, because one day I might forget. Save the world while you can, folks.