The way we communicate with each other has undergone a radical transformation since the first grunts and gesticulations of our primeval cave-dwelling ancestors. It is no longer considered socially acceptable to impose our will on others by battering them into submission with a club as was their crude custom (although, looking around, one could sometimes be forgiven for thinking that little has changed) It is now however commonplace for innocent bystanders to be subjected to a more sophisticated form of assault – one on the senses – the insistent, penetrating assorted squawks and jangles of mobile telephones.
These modern weapons seem to have become virtually another appendage to the anatomy of many individuals. They are increasingly seen being drawn from their ‘holsters‘ with the speed and dexterity of the colt 45s wielded by the old western gunfighters. Their exponents have quickly perfected the use of these instruments of torture. They appear to have developed an instinctive appreciation of the areas in which they can create the most havoc; restaurants, trains, waiting areas and any location where the victim is trapped and at the mercy of the demon dialers.
Having assured themselves that the hapless bystander hav no possible means of escape, they are then subjected to a constant stream of inconsequential trivia and personal revelations often more appropriate to the ‘Agony Aunt‘ column of a popular magazine. The captive audience is loudly informed of the ‘posers’ location; social arrangements, financial status, gastronomic preferences and most recent amorous exploits. All this in an assumed pose of studied nonchalance and self-absorption which says, “I am the center of the world and all of you are merely insignificant ticks in my environment, completely beneath my notice.”
This chronic ‘plague‘ has swept the country, infecting every strata of society. Universal saturation is almost complete as the cost of these ‘weapons‘ comes within the scope of virtually everyone’s pocket. Imagine being a teacher attempting to instill a knowledge of the three R’s into a class of ten year olds amid the bedlam as they attend to their social arrangements for that evening – any more stressed-out teachers looking for early retirement?
As is the case with many inventions designed to reduce the drudgery of everyday existence, what at first appeared to be a welcome revolution may well end up as a millstone hanging round the neck of society. There is a very real underlying danger that, uncontrolled, this new toy will undermine the individual’s privacy, freedom of choice and, especially, their peace and contentment in a world where this last luxury is an increasingly scarce and precious commodity.
The situation however may not be quite as bad as it seems for the ‘immobile‘ population. Research has suggested that their emitted electronic waves may be having a detrimental effect on the, admittedly small, area of grey matter of the posers themselves. The danger of sprouting a premature radiant halo may ring warning bells for incessant users giving the rest of us a measure of respite until further research quantifies the degree of risk for them – and for us.