Monday, August 29, 2022

First Word: Imogen Mark: Phone


Phone, phonetic, frenetic… Phones make us frenetic. Three phones ringing on an office desk, a frazzled figure, a man, a cartoon image, grabbing the phones, one at each ear, held insecurely by his hunched-up shoulders as he scrabbles for a pen, scribbles meaning messages on scraps of paper, then grabs his hat (sic), and runs for his train.

This is an old-fashioned image of phones and offices, and society; in this world, offices are inhabited exclusively by harried middle-aged men and pouty, bosomy secretaries. Wives wait at home, supper ready on the table – or, possibly, rolling pin at the ready, at the door. 

So how does Mobile Man, 2022, fit into this scene? In his office, no landlines; gone the bank of phones. Now it’s a slim laptop, for the emails, pretty much all for work, 50, 100 coming in at a time, impossible to manage, a barrage of punches and pinches and tweaks to his poor head.

In his hand, the cell phone, open for whatsapp messages from the office football club, from the wife, about what he needs to pick up on the way home for supper tonight, a joke, in bad taste, not funny, from an old friend. He can click on to facebook, Instagram, TikTok; more snippets and slaps of news, and opinions, more and more opinions.  More stupid jokes – a good one, he laughs aloud. Has he time to watch a few minutes of an old favourite comedy sketch on youtube? Should he look for a tutorial now on how to tie a bowtie for Saturday’s costume party?

Will his brain explode under the pressure of information and emotion? Or will it implode, collapsing like a sinking souffle? Or perhaps this kind of workout is just what it needs? This is brain gym to stave off future dementia, as all the little grey cells line up ready to touch their toes and then do back flips.

Is this what a mere phone does for you?

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