Tuesday, March 03, 2009

iPhone Scews People

I always knew that technology was going to screw us over eventually. No, the world isn’t being overtaken by machines that were jolted to life by a freak lightening and supported with an infinite brain manufactured by some super secret faction of the government.

That would have been some script only that Hollywood has abused this too often. It is after all, a myth, much like the Loch Ness monster, vampires, democracy in Singapore and recessions – from where I was standing at Zouk, it doesn’t look one bit like we are in a crisis.

I am however, speaking about phones, because as much as it has bridged distances, pinnacled the communications revolution and made shit loads of money for Singtel, it has also been the cause of many interrupted weekends, untimely wakeup calls and it sometimes doubles up as a GPS for paranoid people to check on their partners.

The phone has fucked us up in many ways, some in more ways than once and some actually has them fucking on it. I’ve been a guilty victim – or instigator, sometimes – to the flaws and awes of the evolution of the phone (keylocks, redials, cameras and touch screens, just to name a few).

I’ve been a loyal supporter of Nokia for God knows forever, but 2 months back, I surrendered functionality that Nokia so prides itself, for that gigantic interface known as the iPhone. And I believe I am being punished for my treachery.

I’m sure the phone is great and has tons of applications that you can use as post coital interactions if you wish to skip pillow talks or as great distraction when you are battling constipation. It’s just that I use it primarily for two things; call and SMS. Occasionally, when I feel adventurous, I check out the GPS function.

Thing is, I’m just not good with phones with reject buttons that are displayed on screen as opposed to having it materialize on the phone design itself. As such, I have on countless occasions, assumed that the sole button with the square is all I ever need to press when I end a call. If you own an iPhone, you will know that this is NOT the case.

Apparently, I have on many and I stress again, MANY occasions left the phone running because I did not end the call. As a result, people get to hear my post phone conversations, a lot. Obviously, this isn’t something new to me because the insidious pairing of a non key-locked pad and speed dial is a potent recipe for disaster as we all know.

The unthinkable has happened before, and by that I mean the nadir we can fall too, assisted by part technology and part carelessness. Think, you are bitching about someone, and you have them on call because redial functions without key-locking is a bitch.

I’m sure you’ll have some stories, after all, Hollywood is huge on the whole accidental call incidents, for instance; you call your boyfriend and you hear nothing, then pants and oops, he’s fucking your sister on the side. Everyone loves drama.

Then came last Thursday, when I had to pack in several meetings across town and this one particular client kept changing the time and venue. First it was the Flyer, then it was Raffles City and neither time did he turn up. And believe me, I have patience. I have so much patience, if Patience was a game, I would be Michael Jordan.

Yet even I have a breaking point and facing the mid day sun, an empty stomach and 3 litres of fuel that is killing the Ozone and giving some kid in Melbourne skin cancer, I wasn’t prepared to take shit. And so the last straw was him telling me to meet at Bugis instead, to which I cordially replied,

Ok, see you there.”

Then I got off the phone, threw it onto the passenger seat and instinctively, like all born and bred Singaporean Chinese, exploded into an expletive overdrive.

Kan ni nah. Chee Bye!”

And immediately, I realized that I still had him on line. I had pushed the button to bring up the main menu, not to disengage the call. I am perhaps the smartest person living.

I was now faced with several options. I could pick up the phone and hear if he was still on the line. I could – if my wits worked fast enough to recover from a you-fucked-up situation – salvage it by pretending I was cursing another imaginary person. Or, I could stop by the church and pray to God that he didn’t hear me.

The finite choices of action panned out panoramically into my instinctive train of thoughts. I was crippled by embarrassment and my reluctance to face the consequence. If we pretend something didn’t happen, then it didn’t right? Is this not how the world works? Isn’t that why we live in denial?

So there I stood, staring at the phone while the call duration ticked away at the top of the screen. Then it became clear to me. There was only one course of action that I could adopt, and that was to end the call and think of a word that sounds like, “kan ni nah”.

I realized then that “kan ni nah” does not sound like a cough or sneeze and has no phonetic similarities to anyone I have in my address book. What is with these dialects, why do they not sound like any easily replicated English words that we use on a daily basis?

When I got there - half pushed by professionalism and slightly convinced that I could sell the story of it being a car horn to him -, he was slightly solemn and lost most of that friendly disposition that he exuded the last couple times we met.

Him: “Hey very sorry about that. Hope you're not angry.”

Perhaps he really did hear my vulgarity charged remark?

Me: “Of course not. Don’t worry about it.”

If you deny something long enough, it never happened right?


At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Ecstasy said...

Should've continued with, "Know how to drive anot! Ni nah beh!"

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