Here is another anecdote from my recent trip. I wrote this as an editorial for a newspaper.
Well, after a very gruelling trip to Bangkok, I am now in Hanoi, Vietnam. Here it is very cool and overcast, nothing like Bangkok, which is always hot. Naturally, I’m walking everywhere, taking photographs of anything that catches my eye. However, one thing has disturbed me since leaving home, and Australia is also a part of this, including some of my closest friends. It is a global obsession with mobile phones. Sure, it’s great to communicate with people, but the use of mobile phones has gone crazy. Trust me. In years to come there will be folks attending clinics to try and deal with this addiction.
Vietnam and Thailand are no different to Australia. So, what is the reason for this obsession, and what is so important that you have to be attached to this tiny object? Here are a few examples of what I’ve seen in a week.
Today, I saw two girls on a motorbike. Nothing unusual in Hanoi. However, the one sitting on the back was holding a mobile phone to the ear of the one driving the bike.
Whilst sitting on a corner with my camera, waiting to take photographs of passing traffic, I capture a guy on a motorbike, talking on his mobile and driving at the same time.
Two days ago I was in a massive building in Bangkok, famous for selling all sorts of computer and photographic equipment – MBK. My plan was to purchase a filter for a new lense I’d bought, and also other expensive equipment – like $500 worth. So, I visit about five stores, seeking the best prices. One store I enter and walk up to the counter to find a young woman texting. She glanced at me five times, smiled and continued to text. What did I do? I walked out of course.
Trust me. I could recount heaps of other examples as well, but I won’t bother. You get my drift. The mobile phone is a wonderful invention. Sure it is.
Oh, here is a personal anecdote. Whilst away, I invited a beautiful lady, Nim, for dinner. We went to a great restaurant on the ocean and ordered drinks, but Nim spent the first five minutes flipping through her mobile phone. What did I do? I grabbed the drinks bill, paid it and left. I ran into her the following day and explained why I had left. She bowed and apologised. I explained that I had invited her to dinner, not her bloody mobile.
However, a mobile is similar to a laptop, which is my office as an author and blogger. Am I obsessed with my laptop? No. Am I in charge? Yes. Do I allow Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to take over my life? No. I use them. They do not use me.
Not sure what the answer is, but I sure as hell think some folks have got a serious problem. So has society. If you are one of those mentioned above – good luck. Oh, and if you come to visit me, leave your bloody mobile at the door.
Clancy's comment: God, I feel so much better. How do you feel? Groping for your mobile phone?