Ban on BlackBerrys…..

August 9, 2010 — Leave a comment

Just occasionally I’m relieved my mother is dead. She had been an avid newspaper reader all her life, and even in her final weeks the daily paper would be spread across her lap. She would sit, gazing out the window watching her memories, but every now and then would rustle the pages and turn one with a licked forefinger. She could see only the largest print but would sometimes gather herself and comment on a topic that touched her fancy.

I was trying to think this morning how I would explain a headline that I just knew would have caught her eye, Deal to avert BlackBerry ban could set a precedent”.

What the bloody hell does that mean? she would have asked. I suppose some idiot has choked on one and now they want to stop everyone enjoying them.

Er, no Mum, I would start, I’m pretty sure they mean the PDA kind of BlackBerry.

The what?

It’s a kind of mobile phone that can be used for email and texting as well.

Well why don’t they just call it a ‘phone?

And so our conversation would have gone on. Frustrating, amusing and sad in equal doses.

There is, I must admit, a little piece of me that has a sneaking admiration for the countries intent on banning them. The PDA kind. I know it is totally impractical and will, I read, have a huge impact on both businesses in the countries, and those in transit attempting to do business. I understand the concerns of these government’s are not entirely altruistic.

But then neither are mine. It is not the use of BlackBerry’s in certain countries that concerns me. It’s the use of them in bed.

There is a small but strident movement growing in bedrooms across America. And maybe around the world for all I know. Initial names muted for this groundswell include 5B (Ban BlackBerry’s in Bed Brigade), or maybe 6B if an expletive were to be added, or the BBN (Bin BlackBerry’s at Night). I believe suggestions are being solicited by the instigators of the movement, and a democratic vote is planned to be held in the near future.

Spouses and lovers, of all persuasions, are starting to object to sharing a bed with the shiny black, hand-held object that holds in its thrall the partner of said bed. The click, click, click as a request or response is thrumbed onto the malevolent screen is sometimes accompanied by a grunt of dismay as a message is inadvertently deleted, and has to be started again. And one message leads to another.

The none user lies, rigid, hearing every click; sensing every slide of the thumb on the tit in the middle of the vibrating device; resentment building with each message read and sent. He, or she, flumps over, back towards the offending machine and operator, a pillow pulled across the across the ears, and if accidently tugging all the bedding – oh well!

The user finally accepts the world cannot be fixed this very evening and admits defeat. The device is slid carefully into it’s leather sheaf and laid to rest on the bedside table, there to emit a continuous green blinking light throughout the hours of darkness, accompanied by the drrtt, drrtt, drrtt of incoming mail.

The issue is compounded when day dawns to the slide of a thumb on a machine instead of a hand slamming the wrangle of an alarm, followed by a surreptitious click, click and then another click.

So yes, I’m all for banning the BlackBerry, not because I’m concerned about state secrets, criminal intent or technological security but because I don’t want to share my bed with that kind of device.

I’ve been called naive over many issues. Petulant would probably be a good word to describe my feelings for the BlackBerry. I much prefer the squishy black kind that leave a purple stain around my mouth and on my fingers.

So yes, I’m relieved I don’t have to explain modern communications to Mum. My children will undoubtedly have to put up with my foibles as I age, as I did my mother’s quirks. But I wonder what I’ll say if they ever ask me what the greatest invention of my life time has been? I don’t think it will be the BlackBerry.

When I asked Mum that question not long before she died, without a moment’s hesitation she answered, Penicillin.

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