Will you please stop playing with your phone

Friday 30th March

They are at it everywhere you look; in fact you don’t even have to look.  It used to be just that annoying ring whenever you were on a bus or a train, and that irritating reply, “I’m on the bus.” – yes we know that, we can see you, and by the way do you actually realise that you are shouting and making an absolute exhibition of yourself.  Somehow the natural English fear of embarrassment seems to desert people whenever their mobile rings.  Then it was the absurd sight of people with earpieces apparently talking to themselves while on a hands free set.  The fixed stare into the middle distance and the animated face as if they are actually having a conversation with some invisible interlocutor, do they realise just how ridiculous they look, and yet totally oblivious of all around them, they are locked into the conversation of which we can only here one side, (thank goodness).  And then the lunch companions who insist on answering every Pavlovian summons; have they not heard of the silent button, but no, the phone must be obeyed, even mid-sentence, and with barely an apology either.  But now with the advent of all those Apps on these smartphones, which I refuse to be dragged down the conformist road towards, we have the sight of huddled pathetic phone fiddlers, stroking repeatedly the images across their tiny screens, or watching music videos or playing games or answering e-mails or texting or checking the news or the football scores or the traffic jams or the state of the tube or whatever other useless information the Apps industry can try to sell to people.  And they are everywhere, on every tube train, in cafes, when there is a slight lull in the conversation and even walking along the street.  And they are all locked in their own little isolated world, oblivious to any other human being on the planet.  So, wake up people please, and realise that there is a life away from your handsets, and please, please stop playing with your phones.