Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 07/01/97

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

The high cost of mobility

Most of my new year's resolutions were eminently sensible (involving things like money, exercise and striped shirts) and I should have no difficulty in keeping them. As we crack the shell and start fingering the white of another year, though, I've already broken one of my longer-standing resolutions: I've bought a mobile phone.

Let me assure you, it wasn't for work. I already get stressed enough by the phone ringing 276 times a day without wishing to add to the flow. My two reasons were entirely personal. One of them was this site. I spend a fair chunk of my leisure hours online, either updating the site or researching for it, but I only have a single phone line. Mobiles have simply become so cheap that it's now less expensive for me to buy one and tell people to ring me on that than to get another land line installed.

The other was a hideously embarrassing personal incident, where I failed to meet a friend at the airport and had no way of getting in touch with them. A mobile would have fixed that problem, and lowered my at-the-time stress levels substantially. So there you go.

As a newly alert mobile phone user, I couldn't help noticing something of a mobile phone backlash in the Sydney Morning Herald today, with a host of niggling items attacking phone users as pointless poseurs. At first I interpreted this as just another example of the Herald's rampant conservatism, but now I suspect a more insidious cause.

While mobiles were once permanently associated image-wise with high-flying stockbroker wanker types, these days everyone's got one. And I mean everyone. At Westfield Parramatta, where I bought my phone, I swear every third person was carrying a phone. They're no longer the stockbroker's secret, or even the tradesman's tool; they're just another communications system. The Herald, though, is an avowedly yuppie paper, stretching out for those As and Bs as fast as it can. If it's becoming common, perhaps the only thing to do is attack it. Maybe they want all their readers to switch to Vodafone for that added feeling of exclusivity.

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