I AM a techno dummy, but I know my way around a cellphone or two. I even have a laptop and just this year, got a special deal on an iPad, which I use only for playing card games, but still.
So ja, when wireless, WiFi and whotsit hit our shores, I got with the programme and hitched a ride. I’m no traditionalist – I value the fact that I can skype my husband in the next room while we’re both working. I’m lazy that way.
Which is why I feel, quite strongly, that I’m in a position to bleat about people who talk on their phones in front of me.
It happened again the other day, when we were having coffee. I hadn’t seen him for maybe two years, an old family friend. We had a history, damnit! Lots of catching up to do and all-day breakfasts to eat. I’d been looking forward to it; even washed my hair.
He was the last person I’d have fingered as a Rude Wireless Type. I couldn’t find a label for these cretins on Google, so I’ve coined my own and will be blogging about it on a site near you soon (but not in front of you, while we’re having lunch).
Well into his 60s, grey-haired and almost grandfatherly, my friend comes from a generation where the wireless was the radio and they delivered milk to your door.
He probably didn’t even have a landline until he turned 21.
But barely a split second into our meet-and-greet, his iPhone buzzed. It was a Mozart ringtone, which is pretty enough, I suppose. I didn’t expect him to answer it though. Not seven times in under an hour.
Halfway through my eggs and bacon, I knew my friend’s financial, personal and legal history better than his wife or closest relatives.
I even know that he’s planning a holiday in Ballito Bay in July next year and that if Gary the plumbing person doesn’t come to fix that tap by 5pm today, there’s going to be hell to pay.
The problem is that he didn’t actually tell me. I was just eavesdropping. And trying not to chew too loudly.
I’m all for sharing and caring, but I don’t understand why many of us seem to have forgotten the most basic of manners taught us by our long-suffering mothers.
One of my ex-employees used to turn Rude Wireless Type on me at the drop of a hat. We’d be discussing something earth-shattering, like reports or how to remove toilet stains and her phone would ring.
She’d drop her eyes to her pocket, grab the phone, turn round and leave the room, with nary even an apologetic glance my way.
So my warning is this. If we’re doing lunch, it’s you and me, kid. And if your mobile comes along for the ride, get him a napkin and a drink. I won’t be staying.