Flashback: In 1999 I was sitting in the worst airport terminal I’ve ever spent the night in (this would be United’s terminal at Newark Airport complete with families of MICE (and a couple of rats) scampering merrily about the waiting area) and saw a crazy man.
How did I know he was crazy? He was dressed in ill-fitting black clothes and pacing while holding an animated conversation (including gesturing frantically with both hands) with an invisible no one.
It was 5:45 AM, I’d just gotten off a red-eye from LAX and was waiting for Paul to do the same from LHR and was totally alone in the terminal with this loud crazy man. I’d only just begun to make panicked plans in case he turned on me when I saw it.
Dangling from his ear, there was a wire. Not mad…. well, not talking-loudly-to-imaginary-friends / enemies mad anyway. He was on the phone.
Since then, of course, hand-free sets have proliferated like mobile phones themselves. Bluetooth makes wires unneeded as more and more frequently people sport that look that’s part receptionist with a headset, part Doctor Who mind control earpods.
I can’t get into them. It looks too much like voluntary cyborg-ism — like the implants could somehow go directly into my brain.
That said, having watched my father use his phone while driving, I can definitely see that they’re needed. But not for me. I mean, I can’t even commit enough to my mobile to do more than have Virgin’s pay-as-you-go plan.