How to overcome the zombie apocalypse? Phone home

When the zombie apocalypse comes, our ignorance is not going to be helpful, write Penelope Whitson.

Being a good and dutiful daughter who is hopefully now the frontrunner in the will, I bought my father a mobile phone for his seventy-second birthday this year.

He held out as long as he could and said quite specifically that he only wanted a phone he could make calls on or send texts with. Preferably it would have very large buttons. And nothing else. None of this fancy stuff, because he was quite likely to drop it when doing the sort of thing ex-farmers do in their spare time (more farming) and he likes his peace and quiet.

In 2005 I, too, had to be dragged into the world of mobile phone technology by my then long-suffering boyfriend, who was tired of my friends calling him to locate me. I really didn’t want a phone, because I liked the idea of not being contactable. I liked being aloof, above it all, not one of those sad phone addicts with their text talk and their emoticons.

And then I got one and promptly got addicted to having it on me at all times. I stopped wearing a watch because I had a phone. No need for an alarm clock! Got my phone. Paper maps not required – phone does it all. The only thing my phone does that I have no time for is text talk or emoticons. There is a line and I have no intention of crossing it. Some standards should be maintained.

Things got ridiculous when I was also given a work phone. It transpires that I can’t cope with that many phones in my pockets. I hardly ever used the work phone for starters, and then would find it needed charging and unhelpfully had a completely different charger to my own phone. Eventually we parted ways when I put it somewhere and then never found it again.

My reliance on technology means that I don’t know my home phone number off by heart. The only number I know aside from
my own mobile number is that of emergency services, because that was drummed into me as a child. Anything else I can just look up. And therein lies the small issue that is losing access to your phone or your email – it makes you realise how much information you entrust to your technology, not your brain, or even a diary (that’s one of those weird paper calendar things your grandmother has in her handbag).

And when the zombie apocalypse comes (and it may well be this year), you know your ignorance isn’t going to be helpful. Given that I left my phone at home this morning, this seems like a good time to consider mobile phone rehab. I feel a spot nudey-rudey without it, but there is also a faint sense of glee – I can’t be contacted (if I ignore my work phone, email and carrier pigeons).

I’ve gone rogue – and I’m quite enjoying it so far.

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