When to have my second cup of coffee is probably one of the hardest decisions I need to make over the course of a day.
I’m actually being serious. The first cup is easy. The idea of it is often the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.
But the second, that is a big dilemma, especially when two a day is your quota and you don’t want to waste the moment. What if a friend says let’s catch up for coffee and I’ve already had my second cup? Or there’s an 11am meeting and I know everyone will be having coffee, but it’s only 10am and I’m gagging. Do I hold out until then, or risk a third cup and have the shakes all day?
See what I mean – it’s hard, isn’t it?
Here’s another dilemma: Someone texts you and you don’t know who it is, even though the message is quite personal and obviously from someone you know. So you respond in a generic way, without asking who it is you’re communicating with, as that could be embarrassing or rude.
They respond, you do in turn, but it’s all still a bit general. After about six messages back and forth it’s killing you that you don’t know who it is you’re talking to, so you ring the number from your home phone with the intention of hanging up as soon as you work out who it is on the other end.
But their mobile rings out and goes to message bank, which is what you were hoping for, except they have a generic message, one where that ubiquitous lady gives you the number you’re calling, not the name of the person, and asks you to leave a message.
So, you hang up quickly, without leaving a message, because what exactly would you say? You don’t know who you’re actually calling. But then, 10 minutes later, someone calls your home number, and you realise it’s probably them, your mystery texter, returning your missed call from their mobile.
You don’t pick up, hoping they’ll leave a message and you’ll be able to solve the identity problem once and for all, and then you realise that your own home phone number – which you never use any more, so much so that you haven’t even bothered to commit the number to memory since you moved house – also has a generic answering-machine message that says “the person you have called is not available”.
So, the texting/dialling mystery person is probably going crazy right now not knowing who just called them from a random home number and you still don’t know who they are. And this communication trail has been going on for days.
While all this new phone technology has completely upended our world, people shouldn’t assume we all know how to use it.
You don’t write a letter to someone, post it, and not put your name somewhere in there, so who out there assumes we are all smart enough to memorise mobile numbers or remember to click on the “save to address book” bit every time we get a message?
Some of us still like to write numbers down by hand in an actual address book, and keep note of appointments in a proper paper diary, and wake up to a find a newspaper on our doorstep and the first cup of coffee already brewing on the stove.
Which makes me think of another dilemma, which I haven’t had yet, but apparently it’s coming.
How will we divide up sections of the newspaper so we all get to share the one copy and read it at the same time, if you only have one iPad?