Mike col­man

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT -

Be­ing to­tally de­pen­dent on Lon­don pub­lic trans­port has brought me closer to one of the great­est scourges of mod­ern civil­i­sa­tion. I speak, of course, of mo­bile phone eti­quette or, more cor­rectly, the lack of it. Re­mem­ber the old days when pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions were, what’s the word I’m look­ing for here … pri­vate? Not any more. Catch a bus or train, or even sit down in a restau­rant, and chances are within min­utes you will be as­saulted by the sound of some­one yelling at a piece of plas­tic.

On the scale of rude­ness, I rank it just slightly be­low peo­ple re­clin­ing their air­line seats sec­onds af­ter take­off and leav­ing them down for the en­tire flight. In some cases, higher. A few weeks back I caught a train from a coun­try town to the city. It was a nice, quiet, re­lax­ing trip for all of about five min­utes. A woman sat be­hind me and started speak­ing in Span­ish at top vol­ume into her mo­bile. An­noy­ing? Oh yes, but the best was yet to come. She got tired of hold­ing the phone, so she PUT IT ON LOUD­SPEAKER. For the next hour-and-a-half I was treated not only to the sound of her scream­ing at her un­seen friend, but of him scream­ing back.

Hap­pily, it’s not all bad. Last week­end I was joined on the top deck of a bus by a young woman who rang to give her aunt an up­date on her won­der­ful life. Her job is go­ing well (they’re mov­ing into big­ger premises), she’s moved into a new flat (they get a cleaner in ev­ery day), and she’s mak­ing soooo many friends. But the big news is Robbie. They’re not boyfriend and girl­friend (well, they are, but they’re tak­ing it slow). He used to play pro­fes­sional rugby in France, but he hurt his knee. Now he works for a com­pany that sells 3D tech­nol­ogy. His dad has his own busi­ness in Switzer­land and his mum is bonkers but sweet and … un­for­tu­nately, that’s where I had to get off. I’m catch­ing the same bus next week. Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out.

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