It’s early in the morning and I’m in a service, on my way to yet another exhaustive day of classes. In the front seat, a young man is sitting, clutching his phone as though it was a lifeline. But he’s not waiting for that call to rescue him, he’s just waiting for his friend to reply to his Blackberry message (BBM).
I sit in class, trying to take down notes, but my stream of thoughts is interrupted by that loud *ding* that erupts from the other side of the classroom. The professor just looks, gives that usual “put away your phone” look, before continuing with the explanation.
I go to lunch with a bunch of friends but any form of social interaction is abolished when the “Blackberrys” in their wildly colored cases come out. Talk is restricted to just asking for the napkins or the ketchup to be passed around.
It’s everywhere you go and it just won’t do. The BBM fad has taken over Lebanon in a wave that’s origins are hard to detect. One moment, we were debating if the iPhone trumps the standard Nokia phones we all have, and the next, we began to throw around words like Curve, Mini-curve, and Bold. We also upgraded from exchanging phone numbers to emails, and now to the BB Pins (also now part of the BB owner’s identity).
The true irony, however, is that this tool, for lack of better word, was invented for businessmen, not mere college students. But just like everything else, we had to take a simple item and abuse it to the extremes.
On countless occasions, the people who have no interest whatsoever in this fad have had to tell their addicted friends to cool it down, resulting in several problems.
And let’s not begin to talk about the number of accidents that happen each year on the road because of texting or talking. Do we really need this one more thing to add to our already sky-high death rates?
I say no.
A phone, contrary to popular belief, is used to call people. That’s right, the good old fashioned talk. And it should fit in the pocket of your favorite pair of jeans so that it won’t get lost amongst the many, many items you have in your purse.
But then the text messaging came, and we integrated that into our daily lives. Then, in rapid succession, cameras, mp3 players, mobile internet, and other advanced technologies were added, and we just grinned and deemed them necessary.
But they’re not. Otherwise we wouldn’t have cameras, iPods, laptops, and hard drives.
Trying to improve on the functionality is only driving us to insane addictions to a piece of technology that could not be bigger than the palm of a hand.
It’s not like our phone rates are peanuts. Lebanon, as a matter of fact, is ranked as one of the most expensive countries in terms of phone services. That is not something to boast about.
I am the proud owner of a Motoralla Razr V3i, which used to be all the rage when it came out. It’s a hand-me-down, but I don’t really mind it. It has had more knocks and bumps than what a normal phone should be subjected to, but it continues to work perfectly. Plus, the options are simple and easy to deal with.
I doubt that the latest limited edition Blackberry will operate in the same way. It is a bureaucratic operation all in one single phone, with the interfaces and menus requiring hours of reading the manual.
The trend, unfortunately, is at its high time now, with more people than ever buying into it. And sadly, BBM is now a verb, along the likes of Google and Facebook. For the anti-BB people, there is nothing to be done but ride out the storm.
It will be all over in 6 months tops.