April 1, 2023

Phones aren’t us A play in three acts

Act 1
A hardware store in 1850. A gentleman walks in. The shopkeeper looks up.
Shopkeeper: How may I help you? Gentleman: I’d like to buy a phone.
Shopkeeper: You’d like to buy a what?
Act 2
A department store in 1950. A man walks in.The shop assistant looks up but says nothing.
Man: I’d like to buy a phone. Shop assistant: Here you are.
She hands him a phone.

Man: Thank you.

Act 3
A 21st century mobile phone store. A man walks in. The shop assistants are both looking at a film on a mobile phone and laughing.They ignore the customer. He waits, then looks at a display of phones on the wall. Eventually an assistant comes over.
Shop assistant:Wanna new phone?
Man:Yes. Could I have some advice? I was thinking of this one.
Shop assistant: Do you want an MP3 player?
Man: Erm…
Shop assistant : A camera?
Man: Yes.
Shop assistant : A video camera?
Man: No.
Shop assistant : To make shots of your new child as he grows?
Man: OK.
Shop assistant: This one does all of those things.
Man: Excellent. I’ll have one of those.
Shop assistant: But…it doesn’t…do you ever travel?
Man: Yes.
Shop assistant: Then you need this one over here. It has GPS.
Man: I already have Sat Nav in the car.
Shop assistant: (pointing to another phone) This one has a pedestrian mode. Sat Nav whilst you walk.
Man: Sounds good.
Shop assistant: But the GPS is only triangulated.
Man: Is that bad?
Shop assistant: Yes. This one is what you want. Unless – do you ever watch BBC programmes?
Man: Yes.
Shop assistant: Then you need this one. It lets you stream BBC iplayer programmes over wifi.
Man: I’ll have that one then.
Shop assistant: But this one lets you download BBC iplayer programmes and watch them offline.
Man: Is that better?
Shop assistant: Depends. Do you want to sync with a Mac or a PC? Do you want to use it abroad? Do you want to make VOIP calls?
Man: What are VOIP calls?
Shop assistant: How much memory do you want? Do you want to record voice memos? Play games? If you like games you need this one – the latest model of this one is fantastic, will be fully loaded.
Man I’ll have that. Shop assistant: It’s not out yet.

Man:When does it come out?
Shop assistant: Rumoured to be three months time. In Japan. If you buy this one then you get an automatic upgrade to that one.
Man: In three months?

Shop assistant: No, in two years.
Man: I just want a phone to make phone calls. Nothing else.
Shop assistant: (to his colleague): Do we have any phones that just make calls? Nothing else?
Cavalieri and Crumb, stained glass
Colleague: (checks computer) No.

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