One of the rules we’ve had, since my dad passed away, is that when my mum is in the loft, doing weird and wonderful things in the garden, or poking around in the garage she should always have her mobile with her. That way if she becomes trapped, falls or whatever she can at least signal for help.
This has been a rule for five months now.
Today she asked me to show her how to make a phone call using her mobile phone.
You’ve got to think that really this should have come up sooner than today. I mean when she’s happily telling you about the time she had to crowbar some firewood out of the stack while balanced on a stool, you do start to worry about what things she’s up to now she’s entirely unsupervised and free to run amok.
So I showed her how to use the mobile phone today, ready to use all the essential pre-approved mother jargon if needed – loaf of bread button, middle stick etc. I didn’t go into too much detail about how I don’t think a phone signal can penetrate the foil insulation in the loft should anything happen to her up there as I didn’t want to worry her too much. But I really don’t think it can. I remember dad saying he’d had to move the TV aerial out of the loft because the insulation blocked most of the digital signal. And my mum is only rocking a Nokia 3310, so I can’t imagine that has much in the way of signal boosting capability.
Still, it is large and bulky enough that she could use it to smash her way out of the loft if needs be.
She had, though, hung onto a letter and brochure that BT had sent her offering her a pick from the latest smart phones. I can’t imagine my mum with a smart phone. It’s not even like she’s worked her way along – to go from a Nokia 3310 that she still isn’t sure of the menu for to something she can swipe, take pictures on and send emails is a massive step. And it’s just not the right one to take. For my mum, or for the phone.
That little phone will have left the factory filled with hopes and dreams. It will have heard tales about how the phones that have gone before have become treasured companions of the humans who used them. It will think that it too is going to live that life. A life of adventure and the latest apps. A life of usefulness and joy.
But if you’ve ever seen an old person on a bus with one, you’ll know that at best it’s just destined for a life of having the keypad tones on – loudly – for ever with no hope of them ever being turned off and it’ll be a fine line between making a phone call and accidentally taking a picture of their ear.
Maybe we should get her a carrier pigeon…