If I had to nominate a sign of our times it would be the mobile phone. Yesterday I had lunch with an old friend and left my mobile phone unintentionally at home.
I found this a liberating experience.
Around us diners on their mobiles were very much in evidence. On the bus home 3 people opposite were furiously texting. Most of my emails are from retailers soliciting business and are immediately deleted. Only one required attention.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the preferred means of communication.
On Monday evening over dinner a Professor emeritus of a business school held forth on the best way forward for the Remain lobby being a people’s vote.
My friend, who had attended the business school and voted Remain, took exception to the use of the word “people”, saying it was a referendum – pure and simple – and the people were being misled if it was termed anything else. He has some choice remarks to make about Tony Blair.
Over Twitter such a debate might have got out of hand but over dinner it proved a refreshing discussion and, when we moved onto other topics, there was no atmosphere around the table.
I can see the advantages of mobile communication to send messages. I had to inform my friend today that – surprise, surprise – our Southern Railway train was cancelled and a taxi driver, failing to get an answer from my mobile, assumed he was no longer needed.
Yet I still yearn for a good old chat on the phone.