Hello? I’m right here, choosing a rockmelon …

            There we all were, blissfully meandering amongst the vegetables, checking out the aubergines and pondering on the potatoes. Barry Manilow was crooning gently in the background and all was well with the world. Such were the halcyon days of fresh produce acquisition. But hark! What is this? It’s a polyphonic ring tone and some awful woman regaling us with the details of her bowel operation! Oh, gross … Wanker Alert!

            What type of news might one be awaiting whilst deciding between a cauliflower and a cabbage? If there’s a life or death situation going down, wouldn’t you stay at home? Surely, to be informed Uncle Monty has passed on during perusal of the silverbeet would be too distressing to share with a supermarket full of nosey parkers? Or not. Uncle Monty’s plummet from the perch pales into insignificance compared with being able to answer your phone in the vegetable aisle, with everyone noticing you! Wow! Is this not the ultimate in one-upmanship? ‘Fraid not, love. It’s passé. Even preschoolers now carry their own phones, in case they need to inform Mum they’ve committed an indiscretion and need spare toweling pants delivered pronto. Students regularly ignore teachers in classrooms all over the country when their Nokias chime. Bag ladies carry them so they can quickly locate other bag ladies. There was even a man on the Gold Coast last Christmas, jogging along the beach in his budgie-smugglers. Yup – the Dayglo, luminescent, underwater mobile phone was strapped ostentatiously to the back of his flabby lycra buttocks! Handy if a shark starts ripping your extremities off, eh? You can dial 000 if you still have any fingers left.

            Why are people so insecure they can’t leave the house without being instantly available? Slaves to technology, terrified something might happen while they are in transit! They even make calls while they’re driving along, not giving a hoot about the traffic – only whether the people in the next car can see them being totally cool. Don’t they realise those people aren’t impressed – they’re thinking ‘wanker’.

            All over the world, telephones are ruling lives. Meals go cold while people jump to attention. Houses burn down as housewives grab desperately for the receiver and forget the chip pan. Children run rampant and go missing in the street while their mothers lose all track of time discussing Cheryl’s hysterectomy.

            Be the boss of the phone – let it ring! You can be reasonably sure it will not be President Bush on the other end informing you he is about to press The Button. Unless you’re Mr Rudd. Even if it is, and you are, is it really worth letting your spag bol go cold or stick to the bottom of the pan? I think not. You’d be far better off having a good meal before a conversation of that ilk, anyway.

            There is a time for all things and while you’re enjoying them, phones should not be given the right to intrude. There’s a distinct probability there’s someone on the other end wanting to sell you cladding. Tell them to get cladded. Claim back your life, before it’s too late!

            If you happen to be one of those under the misguided illusion your phone is a status symbol – think again. Very carefully. There are other things you can utilise if you wish to be insanely trendy. Macaroni necklaces are good, especially coloured with bright food dye. A few rows of these slung nonchalantly around the ol’ cashmere sweater will show anyone you’re right up there. Wearing ugg boots is pretty OK – especially those really smelly old ones, resurrected from the 70s. Personalised numberplates can cut a bit of a dash, as well. Cool! Really impressive! And dead easy for witnesses to remember when you’re caught out doing that ram raid!

            It’s getting harder and harder to impress, now that everyone’s got everything. It used to be good enough to have the only telly in the street, with all the neighbours pressing their noses against your window and making excuses to borrow a cup of sugar when Weekend Magazine was on.

            Nowadays, you’ll need a satellite dish at least. And a pretty darn impressive selection of trendy shaped macaroni …





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