Monday, 30 May 2016

The First Screen And Violent Desires

Family watching television, c. 1958
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I can remember a chap at a conference referring to mobiles as 'the third screen' (after TV and PC) and, some years later, someone putting on one of those Arthur, King of the Britons voices to prophetically announce that the mobile was now the first screen. Cue gasps from audience, challenged by speaker's uncanny insight.

Which is all well and good, but this whole constant screen lark is getting out of hand. I'm increasingly infuriated by the experience of lift doors opening to reveal people gazing at their mobiles. It's like a ritual, as dependable as Southern Indian men walking into lifts with mirrored back walls (cue comb whipped out from back pocket and furious primping of hair, usually by someone who hasn't pushed the button for the floor he wants and rewards you, when you get out, with that 'tch' of irritation as he realises he's in the car park and not, in fact, the 43rd floor). The slack-jawed mobile gawper stands there thumbing away at his handset, oblivious to the ten people staring at him and wishing him dead as their own lives ebb away, waiting for his convenience.

After a few seconds, he realises and either looks up and dashes for the lift or, worse, just belatedly blunders in with his head still buried in his mobile. Not buried quite as far as I'd ideally like it, I can tell you. On good days, the doors close painfully on his shoulders and I have to struggle to contain my elation.

I have little fantasies of being alone in the lift, the camera lens in the corner obscured by some fiendish device invented for one of my novels, grabbing the back of his head and dashing it against the mobile screen propped against the lift wall, bouncing his ugly pate against the little rectangle until splinters of Gorilla Glass are embedded in his...

Okay, I have to rest for a few seconds.

Aaaand we're back.

Stuck in traffic on the benighted MBZ, watching the guy in front leaving a hundred metre gap until the car in front of him, his eejit features dipping like one of those wee birds with felty heads you used to get that pivoted on a plastic base to dip eternally into a glass of water. And you know that means he's texting or Whatsapping or Facebooking or whatever other neoloverbism you want to dub his slavish infosharing with.

I hate him. I watch cars push into the yawning gap he's leaving; one, two and three people all getting home one car, two cars, three cars ahead of me. I want to get out and go knock on his window, perhaps talk to him, point out that directing a tonne of steel, glass and, increasingly these days, plastic might might just be a teensy weensy bit more important than sharing photographs of Rima's first puke. Or even rip the mobile out of his fat, hairy hands and toss it under the wheels of the jerk in a brown Renault Duster who's undertaking us both and filling the permalacuna that mobile-head is leaving in the flow.

But the one that really, and I do not want to understate this too much, really, really gets my goat (I don't have a goat, but if I had one it would get it. Probably comprehensively eviscerated.) is the blithering dimwit who walks into me in the shopping mall because he is gurning into his mobile, his sago-slack features lit by the flickering of the YouTube clip of a cat whose arse is being used as a pencil sharpener by a dog egged on by a buttered mandrill.

I mean, right into me. I'm standing quite still because my wife is consumed by the enormity of the choice between Wallis and Chic. Shoes or dresses. She's torn, uncertain. I'm waiting for her to reach the epiphany of the indecisive shopper and Elie The JerkTard actually walks into me. And, finally, my legion suppressed fantasies of violent urges silently played out on numberless witless screen-droolers find their outlet. Sarah's headed for Chic, because there's a Lebanese man with male pattern baldness hanging out of the smashed plate glass window of Wallis, his body jerking as arterial blood spurts, drenching the long cougar-print dresses drooping from their circled hangers.

And yes, I do feel better now, thank you very much.

1 comment:

Grumpy Goat said...

The infosharing netizens of which you speak are, to my mind at least, prisoners in the Allegory of Plato's Cave.

(Incidentally, you cannot get me; I'm not yours)

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