“But Carlisle is in Scotland!”
“Don’t be an idiot, it’s in England!”
“I know for a fact it’s in Scotland!”
“Well I’m Scottish and I can tell you for a fact it most certainly is not!”
“Well I’m going to phone Lisa, and she’ll tell you…”
A small group of students were sitting behind us on the train, when Maggie and I took a day trip up to Edinburgh earlier this week. Clearly one of them had no sense of local geography and was going to be in for a surprise when she phoned her friend.
It’s been many years since I regularly used the train to get anywhere, but the biggest difference I’ve noticed is the use of mobile phones.
I was struck by the fact that 10 years ago if a phone went off and someone talked loudly into it (“Hello? I’m on the train! THE TRAIN! Hello?”), a distinct atmosphere of irritation would quickly develop among all the other passengers in the carriage. Unable to do anything but listen to an intrusive one-sided conversation, we would wonder how anyone could be so inconsiderate and shameless.
But these days it is so commonplace, it just forms part of the background noise, blending in with the engine noise and the muffled clickity-clack of the lines. No one notices: they are all too caught up in their own phone conversations.
This small group of students seemed unusual in the fact they were actually having a face-to-face conversation.
Well, two of them were. The others were playing games on their iphones while listening to their ipods.