Monday, January 21, 2008


Telephones have always given Hector quite the wrong sort of buzz. All that unnecessary squawking!

Plus, they so often are inhabited (at the other end) by someone on a mission, even if that mission is simply to wreck your day.

Hence his long-standing practice has been to have short phone sessions. The vocal equivalent of an SMS text does the trick in most cases. There are exceptions: we all have those occasions where, on the phone, our contribution is mostly ‘yes’, ‘no!’, ‘really?’ These interventions are to remind the caller that, yes, no, really, you are still listening; even if you’re not.

The situation worsened significantly when some unspeakable cad invented mobile phones, aka cell phones or, in Indonesia, hand phones. They’re all the same: they bring bad news, or news you can do without at the moment, or inconsequential matters that would be far better advised remaining in cyberspace, being put in an email, or handing over to the snail.

Plus, whatever happened to the telephone ring? It used to be that a phone alerted you to the inconvenience of someone calling by a simple and actually quite melodious ‘ring’ sound. It varied. The Americans, who have been interrupting other people’s conversations at least since Valley Forge, liked the long single ring. Hector loved seeing American movies in the old days, when cage entertainment was just a Sci Fi dream, chiefly because unless they were Westerns and predated all the Bells, instead featuring America’s pioneers of wall-to-wall litigation, the Sioux, they invariably included this somnolent yet somehow disturbing and vaguely threatening sound.

Nowadays, and not only on mobiles, you don’t get many rings. You get the ‘1812’ (warning: classicist calling), or a selection of high-irritant muzak grading down to the latest dorky Rap Zapper. Ugh!

So for Hector, phones have always been a health hazard. They have always disturbed his sleep (whether at home or in the office).

He was thus thoroughly chuffed to read in The Independent, one Britain’s chief bringers of bad news to the upwardly worried, that mobile phones actually do ruin your rest time. Well, he always did think they were the wrong sort of brainwave.

According to this august journal – which Hec understands is published in all 11 other months too, and daily to boot; no wonder they have to run so much from Worry Wort Central (they’d never fill it otherwise) – phone-makers’ own scientists have discovered that bedtime use can lead to headaches, confusion and depression.

The latest news from WWC suggests that that using them before bed, or in bed which they say teenagers customarily do, causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time there, which interferes with the body's ability to repair damage suffered during the day. Yeah! You gotta sleep off those Big Macs.

Hector’s advice: Never go to bed with your best phone. It's never a satisfying experience and can do serious harm to your relationship.

1 comment:

  1. Since we've only recently joined the 20th Century in our recent cell phone purchase we found it amusing to set personalized ring tones for each other. When your baby bro calls me, Aunty Elton's Madman Across the Water blares out. When I call him Brandy, You're a Fine Girl announces my intention to chat. The only time it was a bit odd was when I was browsing the aisles in the local mega-mart hardware store and Aunty Elton started squawking quite loudly from my back jeans pocket. All eyes looked at my rear and I answered the phone laughing quite loudly.