Saturday, December 10, 2005

The comfort of mobile phones.

Last night, as I was joining the queue for the W3 from Finsbury Park, my eye was drawn to the glowing white keypad of the mobile phone cradled in the hand of the woman in front of me.

It was late. It was dark. I was drunk – a little, at least. But something about that phone captivated me.

It even distracted me from the woman’s extraordinary thinness.

She held the object out in front of her, and though I couldn’t for the moment see her face, I sensed she was staring at it in amazement, possibly even awe. She showed no inclination to make a call. She was certainly in no hurry to put the phone away, as the security posters advise. She seemed content to merely look. There was a need, I felt, an appetite in her for its phosphorescent glow.

And how it glowed! It glowed like a special effect, a shorthand icon for magic and potential.

My own mobile phone does not glow in the same way. The screen lights up a sickly green when you first switch it on. But the light quickly dies, and never reaches the keypad. Even so, I was perfectly satisfied with it, until last night. It was my first experience of cellphone envy.

It was the latest model, I’m sure: the present tense forged into a gadget. But what I envied was not its technological novelty. It was simply the glow of the keypad, and the comfort that it afforded her. There is something undoubtedly sad about thin women. But that glow seemed enough to compensate for any unhappiness.

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