Stop All the Clocks, Cut Off the Telephone

July 25, 2012 at 9:51 am | Posted in Communication | Leave a comment
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It is rare for me to mourn the dominance of the written word, but the fact that it has overtaken its spoken equivalent with regard to phones, as Linda Grant points out in her excellent article, upsets me somehow. No one enjoys the PDETR (Public Display of Emotional Telephone Ranting), of course, nor overhearing pointless telephone calls of the ‘I’m on the train’ variety, but there is something sinister to me about the phone being used for everything apart from its original purpose: talking.

Earlier in the year, I wrote a paean to my IPhone, & it is smartphones in general, with their countless apps, which Grant implies are to blame for the decline in telephone conversation. We are simply too busy emailing, Twittering or blogging that it is our fingers, rather than our lips, which we prefer to move nowadays.

My phone, like Grant’s, rings rarely nowadays: friends prefer to tweet or text, & I am the same. My reasons, however, are perhaps different from theirs. (Certainly, there is something to be said for the opportunities to procrastinate which texts and emails allow, whereas the telephone call, like a toddler demands your attention immediately.). I rather enjoy, and have enjoyed always, the sound of silence: whereas my best friend enjoys the television as background noise, I would only have it on twice a week if possible.

According to a 2011 Ofcom article, 1 in 7 houses are landline free now, and I can count myself as part of the literally rootless generation. But think on this: some of the world’s most stunning art would not have existed without it. Sylvia Plath’s ‘Words heard by accident, over the phone’ would not have been written had the landline been extinct in the 1960s, and Salvador Dali’s Lobster Telephone would have looked rather different had it had a Blackberry at the centre of its design.

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I will not miss the landline: I would only buy one myself as decoration (this retro Wild & Wolf design is particularly lovely), but it certainly seems that the more forms of communication in which we indulge, the less qualified we become to actually talk to each other.

So Long…And Thanks For All the Writing Material

July 16, 2012 at 8:13 am | Posted in Honesty, love, men, relationships, women | 3 Comments
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There were some poignant but funny reasons for ending a relationship in this Guardian Weekend article: not a recent piece, but one that has been waiting patiently, in the nook of my coffee table, to be discussed. They were taken from The Breakup Project, a truly democratic website which allows you not only to sever ties with that no longer ‘special someone’, but also with the rather more abstract concerns of death, God & fear of rejection. My favourite was this one:

We break up because communists always break up with me. We broke up because you are so busy being a communist, you forgot how to be a person, how to treat people. We broke up because there hasn’t been a revolution yet.

If I ever met this man or woman (but somehow, I think it’s the latter), I would ask her these two questions:

1) Just how many communists have you dated that you are able to utter the phrase, “because communists always break up with me”?

2) Are you going to stop dating communists now?

Karl Marx 1, matching Ikea bedside tables 0.

But I think the one to which I could relate most was this:

We broke up because you love the feeling of falling for a girl more than you loved me.

What touches me so much about that sentence is the way the tenses move from the present to the perfect. This is you now, this is the behaviour from which you can’t escape; that was you then and can only ever be you then.

Here are my most bizarre reasons for ending relationships:

We broke up because you were obsessed with World War Two, and I wasn’t.

We broke up because you wanted a civil partnership, and I had to break it to you that, being in a heterosexual relationship, we didn’t qualify for one of those.

We broke up because you ran away from the chavs in Coventry city centre. And then told me I was ‘just perfect’.

We broke up because you thought that aura photography was an actual career.

And the most bizarre of all:

We broke up because you had a vitamin D deficiency.

So come on, spill: what are the weirdest reasons for your relationships ending?

Nosy Parker

July 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Currently, there is more than one car per UK household. Around 50% of us, therefore, own a car, and most of us use it to drive to work. In Tenterden, where I work, parking is at a real premium: there are just four town car parks & the average cost is £1 an hour. Whilst the national average salary for a full-time worker was £26,200 last year, 46% of UK residents earn less than £20000 annually.

As I fall into that latter category, I choose to avoid paying ridiculous amounts for parking in a council car park, and find a space instead in a residential area (I shan’t name it here, it’s pointless for most of you, but those who frequent Tenterden will know exactly where I’m talking about). Let me make two points absolutely clear. Firstly, I am forced to do this: my earnings simply do not allow for parking expenditure, but I have to drive here because I live 42 miles away and Tenterden’s transport connections are appalling. Secondly, as the law states, your owning a property in a road does not give you automatic parking rights either outside your own property or elsewhere in that road. Where I live, you are required to have a parking permit if you wish to park for more than 2 hours. But I’ll say it again: in the same way in which I would have no more right to park there than a non-resident, were there no parking restrictions, my owning a permit gives me no more right to park there than a non-permit holder.

So, as you can imagine, it made me rather angry today when, after I declined his suggestion to park elsewhere, a resident of this Tenterden estate spat on me for parking there. Not only is that abuse, it is also suggesting that he has more right to park there than I do. This is rubbish. Don’t like it? Move elsewhere or put up with it. He made his choice when he moved there, knowing it is a popular place to park in Tenterden. Unlike me, and presumably most of the other people who park there: because financially, we have no other option.

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