I was sitting on a crowded train last night, pulled out my smartphone and then realised that practically everybody else in the carriage was either looking at their smartphones or listening to their ipods or whatever and sometimes both.
This is the age of the smartphone and the aural blinkers – a time when we are enclosed in our own little cocoon and the existence of real people is at best an irrelevance.
And in the “quiet carriage” on the train, phones are incessantly ringing which some people can’t hear because they’ve their ipods or whatever turned up to the max.
This is the age when you can easily knock a pedestrian over because he or she are listening to such loud music that they can’t hear you beep. Bill Gates’ prediction that there would be a time when everyone was in contact appears to have come true – wi-fi on the buses, wi-fi everywhere and we’re all so obsessed with keeping in touch with others that we can’t touch real people.
I reflected on the train what all of this smartphoning, ipadding and loud music is doing to our brains and to our culture. It seems that it won’t be long before the only time we can get respite is when we fall asleep, and only then if we remember to switch our gadgets off. The time may come before the price of an English pint is £5 (£3.80 in a pub in London yesterday). A pint of mild was one shilling and sixpence when I was a yoof.
What is it doing to my brain? Smartphones that is to say, not the pint(s). I’m always looking at my smartphone to see if someone has mailed me or pinged me, even when I’m in conversation with someone else. It’s so bloody rude. And it’s not smart, it’s pig ignorant.
These days you land at an airport and simultaneously there are “pings” from the high proportion of people that have Blackberrys. Everyone, unsure whether its her or his phone, pull ‘em out, just to check. It’s usually O2 or Vodafone or whoever telling you where you are.