Phone trauma

I have discovered that the best way to feel loved and wanted is to lose all your telephone numbers. Due to an incident with my brand new shiny telephone, this was what recently happened to me; I recounted the tragic details of this loss in an email which I sent to everybody in my address book. It was a good email, so I shall reproduce it below in case you were not fortunate enough to receive it:

At the end of last year I got a brand new shiny flip-top mobile phone which made me feel very superior to everybody else for three whole weeks.

It broke. At least, the screen broke, leaving me unable to see any of the information stored within said brand new shiny phone. For the last two months I have been waiting for it to be repaired, in the hope that it would be returned to me along with the 300 phone numbers it contained. Yesterday I was finally reunited with it, shiny as ever and with a working screen. But the phone numbers were not there.

I think they’ve just given me a different phone. I’m not an expert, but in my opinion it would be odd to mend a phone and then delete everything in its memory. They’ve spent two months not mending my phone and now they’ve just replaced it.

The upshot of this lengthy and difficult experience is that I don’t have anybody’s phone number. So it would be useful if you could email me your phone number, perhaps with a message of support and encouragement to help me cope with the traumatic realisation that technology really is as rubbish as I thought.

The response to this email has literally been overwhelming. I have had wave upon wave of supportive and encouraging emails, or to quote one of said emails “bucket-loads of sympathy” for my “terrible phone-trauma”. The lovely Annalie Wilson advised me to “try and think of it as a clean slate” and one friend told me that I am “a real encouragement” and “an example to all”. Somebody divided his email up into headings of sympathy (“How awful! Poor you”), support (“Be strong, work through it, and it will get better”) and encouragement (“Have a drink”), and even a simple “get well soon” was enough to bring a tear to my eye. Another person thoughtfully included, along with his own number, that of the Samaritans (01223 364455).

The Anglican Church proved its worth as an institution of aid; my Vicar told me “it was with considerable sadness that I heard of your postmodern bereavement. Please accept my contact details as a small token of my support”, whilst a very lovely trainee Priest who I hope will one day be the first female Archbishop of Canterbury sent me the moving message “Wot a shitter!”

The Uncertainty Division also came out in force with words of reassurance – Susie Parker said “that is indeed a most tragic thing to have happened, and I sympathise deeply with the massive crack that must have opened up in your life”; I got a typically succinct Ormerodical “keep yer chin up” and the UD’s fount of knowledge, Mr Aylett, pointed out that technology causes “loss of intellectual capacity“.

An organist I know who now lives in America pointed out how lucky we are not to have American-style mobile phones. Apparently “it’s the whole color (sic) television syndrome. The Americans heard someone else had it, so forced the issue through the technology they had, rather than learning how to make a better version from scratch. We don’t even have sim cards. Video messaging, yes, but if you want to swap phones with a friend for a day – can’t do it.”

Bill Cronshaw, an old friend from the theatre, gave me much useful advice on buying phones: “If you shop around it is possible to get a phone like mine – it has special features such as:- unable to take photos (but I do have alternative arrangements to cope with this eventuality), nothing flips up on it (but if I tire of this I can always buy fags), easy to find as it’s the size of an average housebrick (useful as a weapon when confronted by someone pretending to talk on a mobile but actually taking compromising photos of one).” Sage words indeed.

There were words of advice on how to avoid similar occurrences by using sim cards, bluetooth technology, computers or photocopies (and my brother’s rather less sympathetic suggestion to “make duplicate records you buffoon”).

I am a little more worried about my cousin, who texted me his number then emailed my to tell me he had done so, saying “I have also sent you my number by SMS text message (to quote it’s full title), royal mail, parcelforce, two carrier pigeons of the feral variety and a man named Ed who has the number tattooed on his knuckles- if you see him be sure to have a look, it’s quite impressive! However, don’t tell him that you received this e-mail or he will deem his journey wasted.” Teenagers these days, eh.

Alas, there are always a few people who are ungenerous with their love and support when it is needed. I am sorry to say that somebody who owns a pretty crappy phone himself and who I charitably demonstrated my new phone to just before it broke, told me “I refuse to offer any sympathy or encouragement – what did I tell you about swanky new phones? May that me a lesson to you!” It is sad to see such transparent jealousy in an email.

And the least sympathetic email I got was from a thoroughly nasty piece of work called Aly Murray, who said: “Technology really is as rubbish as you thought it was. Deal with it.”

I would like to thank everybody else for being so understanding. So enjoyable has the experience been that I’m considering sending out spam to random email addresses asking for phone numbers – that way I shall continue to feel loved and wanted, and perhaps I’ll make a whole load of new friends as well.

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