John Davies is a senior corporate partner at leading commercial law firm Thrings.
Each month John addresses a topical news or business-related issue and gives his thoughts in a frank and comical way, this time he discusses our current mode of ‘communication’.
I recently went to a pub for a meal and sat near two sets of couples. They hardly said a word to each other and all four of them had their phones out – tapping away, fingers and thumbs burning hot, looking down and not at each other.
I started thinking about how things used to be. I got a bit nostalgic. Once upon a time, not so long ago, the world was a fairly simple place and the methods of communicating reflected that time. (and kids – I’m only talking 15 – 20 years or so, not the 1950s).
Do you remember when we actually spoke to each other? Looked each other in the eye and communicated properly? None of this face down, thumbs out malarkey.
If we were apart we’d use phone boxes. Do you remember when phone boxes were actually phone boxes? They had phones in them (and they were massive solid proper phones too). Oh how I miss the split second of panic when you’d get through to someone on a pay phone and then fumble around trying to get your 10p in before the pips went. I also loved the sense of living on the edge when dialling the operator to make a reverse charge call. It was the pinnacle of cheekiness, absolute hedonism – calling someone and getting them to pay for it. I loved that. Now phone boxes are either gone altogether or they’re used as mini libraries. Do ‘operators’ still exist?
Do you remember when we wrote and sent letters? They were good days. What a feeling when you opened the envelope and looked at those carefully written words. You’d read your letter and then read it again, and again. I loved that too. I particularly liked the colourful airmail envelopes. There was always a sense of adventure, mystery and even a touch of the exotic when sending or receiving airmail. It all felt a bit James Bond(ish). Alas no more.
I know I sound like an old goat here, and don’t get me wrong – I’m as addicted to emails and technology as the next person. But go on, try going out for a meal without your phone or tablet. You might like it. Even better, go ‘old skool’ and write someone a letter. Send it and make someone’s day. I will if you will.