At lunch today in our usual restaurant (much patronized by the retired and therefore a sure sign of good value) the people sitting on the table next to us did not seem to be fully engrossed in their food.
Lunch, even on a Friday when people are somehow different in their approaches to life with the impending weekend offering illusory freedom, is a time when things should be done differently. The eating of food is not being at work – unless you are a food critic, I suppose. It is a time when other concerns should be left behind. Especially when you are in a public space.
I have never believed in the so-called business lunch: you either work or eat. You cannot, in my view, do both satisfactorily. It ends up in indigestion – or at the very least in cold food and inadequate work.
Which is why I hate the mobile phone.
I possess one of course. They are after all gadgets within the meaning of the act. But I feel total loathing when I see one being used.
People do shout when they reply but this boorishness is not the aspect of their use that I object to most.
The most repellent factor that you have to deal with when you are with someone with a mobile phone is that whoever you are, the phone outranks you.
You are having a conversation and then the phone rings. If people have been uncouth enough to fail to set the damn thing to silent then the very best you can hope for is for the person to whom you are speaking to take out the phone and turn the bloody thing off. That is at best. What usually happens is that your partner will look at the phone before turning it off.
Have they been on tenterhooks for the whole time that they have been with you because they are expecting momentous news which is going to change the course of their lives? No. This is just an out of the blue call which breaks into your live conversation as if it has every right to do so. This rude intrusion is then given the allowance of attention which it does not deserve while the callee decides if it outranks you.
I am infuriated by even a moment’s consideration given to the interloper and it puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the time together. Not, of course that I haven’t done this myself, but somehow that’s different.
Anyway the woman who was having her meal had a fork on one side of her plate and a mobile phone on the other.
During the meal her phone started ringing and she picked it up, presumably noted the name of the person calling her and then, holding it in one hand while feeding herself with another, let it ring on until the other person got fed up or the answering service dealt with the call. And this is a crowded restaurant. And she didn’t look ashamed! This is one area of modern life to which I cannot reconcile myself.
Life without my various computers is not to be considered, but without the mobile phone . . . that is not in the same category.
And before anyone tells me that my smart phone is a computer with a phone added, the only time that I really wanted to use the internet computer link the bloody thing didn’t work – and that was in the centre of Barcelona and not in the back of beyond!
One girl in a class last year could not imagine being separated from her mobile phone for more than an hour – the length of a lesson. She also admitted that she had gone out with a group of friends and used the text function on her phone to speak to someone on the other side of the table from her!
None of this stops my wanting to own an I-phone 5. Sad person that I am.
The trip up to Terrassa was relatively painless with no holdups at the well-known bottlenecks on the motorway up to the city.
The meal to celebrate the name day of Toni’s sister was delayed because of dog shit.
Toni’s nephew was playing with his brother in a local park, fell and when he got up he found himself covered in smeared shit.
Dogs defecate in public. I do not blame them. In the same way, dogs bark – it’s what they do. Blame for dog mess on pavements and neighbours being constantly disturbed by incessant barking lies squarely with the owners. They have to clean up behind their pets. In public areas which are used by children and humans it is not enough for owners to assume that grass equals a free-for-use dog toilet. The serious illness and diseases that can be caught from animal faeces have been well documented and owners have a duty of care to ensure that they do not pollute the environment.
Barking is something which dog owners regard as an inconvenience that they are prepared to put up with as part of the cost of owning a pet. They might accept this imposition but I see no reason that neighbours should have to.
Our next door neighbour has a collection of creatures who obviously love and adore her and she adores them – we often hear her simpering baby-voice speaking goo-goo nonsense to her charges first thing in the morning – and she goes through a routine of taking her pets out to poo on the pavements.
Unfortunately the creatures left behind bewail their fate in the only way they can and bark morosely and monotonously until she returns. They do not learn from one day to the next that she is, indeed, going to return to them. They are like those hapless humans who have catastrophic instant memory loss and panic when things change and they feel deserted.
She has constructed cages underneath the house for her dogs and we hear them throw themselves against the netting and then bark their complaints to the wind – or rather the collection of neighbours who are in close proximity to the barking beasts.
So leaving the barking in Castelldefels and then going to Terrassa and finding my meal delayed by an hour while a mother washes dog filth of her son did not do much more my sense of calm well being.
However, I will have an early night and find comfort in unconsciousness.
Tomorrow means case packing and light shopping.
And my OU stuff did not arrive. I fear that it will appear on Monday when I am in Cardiff and I will have read trivial literature on the plane rather than settling down to real academic grind.
Such is life.