The concept of a mobile telephonic device isn’t new. I could write a précis of what I’ve researched on Wikipedia or you could read it for yourself. For the purposes of this blog and my time, I’ll tell you what you need to know: People were attempting to make mobile telephonic devices from as early as the 1900s. During World War II (see, war is at least useful for one thing), the military tried to develop the concept further. Then in the 1970s there were these big bulky things that would work for only a couple of minutes and need to be charged for hours afterwards. And then in the nineties there were these big bulky things that worked but were expensive to operate. Now, in 2016, there are these big bulky things (called an iPhone 6 Plus) that work really fast and are seldom used to actually make telephonic calls by can do and tell you everything else. Oh how times change…!!!
It has been forty-eight hours since I dropped my phone into a lavatory and am now letting it rest/dry-out/resurrect itself in a snap-lock bag of rice. For the first twenty-four hours, I was ticked off, annoyed at myself for making such a stupid mistake and had to find a pen and the back of an envelope on which to write a shopping list. In the last twenty-four hours, I’ve really gained some perspective. Yes, I miss being able to send my husband sweet text messages at work but I can still email him on the laptop. Yes, I miss being able to take a photo of my two year old son dressed in a red Spanish tule skirt and rainbow gumboots but I could dig up the digital camera from somewhere and take a photo on that. Yes, I miss being able to look up the weather to know what to dress in for the day, but I could just walk outside. To quote a conversation I had with my then three year old daughter about something inconsequential she had lost once:
Me: “It’s not the end of the world, Eva.”
Eva: “It is the world.”
I’m happy to say that my mobile phone isn’t my world. It’s a useful and, dare I say, even necessary part of my world because in phase three/day three of not having a mobile phone, my thoughts no longer think about what I could have Instagramed, or what I could have googled the minute I had a query, or the funny birthday messages I could have What’s App’d to family and friends (notice how we have new verbs in our vocabularies now?!). When I pick up my hand bag to go out and there’s a noticeable lack of mobile phone presence in the little pouch my handbag even has created for it, I think about, what if I had an accident in the car? (which I almost did yesterday). What if there was an emergency and I had to call the ambulance? What if we went out and my husband couldn’t find me and the kids?
When you think about the above scenarios then I’d call a mobile phone a necessity. When we use the term “going without” in our fairly comfortable middle class society, I think for 93.6% of reading this, it means going without luxuries (like spending too much on your groceries so you can’t buy wine or ice-cream).
A few months ago, the organisation that supports our sponsor child in Brazil wrote to us to tell us that when our sponsor child writes to us and mentions that he has a mobile phone or his family have a connection to the internet that we should not assume that he no longer needs our financial support. For people living in subsistence communities, a mobile phone is a necessity: for business, for weather warnings, for safety. Same goes for here in little old Brisbane. When people matter then I guess such devices matter too.