Oh, for the time when cellphone calls were to order Inkomazi

A hint to the big sisters before we get to this week's topic. This is a tip I picked up at the weekend while indulging in ginger beer and Potchefstrooms during umsebenzi.

A hint to the big sisters before we get to this week's topic. This is a tip I picked up at the weekend while indulging in ginger beer and Potchefstrooms during umsebenzi.

If you are attacked by the "High-High" - hot flushes - while shopping, quickly rush to the frozen food section and lean over as if you are seriously considering your choices.

I understand this is an effective cure if you do not use hormone replacement therapy. I am going to try it out when I am doing my Christmas shopping.

When the cellphone first appeared on the scene, the taxi drivers would reverently turn down the radio volume.

This was so that the owner could have an audible conversation with the caller.

I remember when I was still living in the East Rand in Marimba Gardens which was derisively called "Nkomazi" six days a week. None of us owned a cellphone and we were all suitably impressed by this new technology.

We all strained our ears to listen to this wondrous machine but, disappointingly, it was often the mother of the house telling the father not to forget to buy milk and bread for their hungry brood.

A few calls were about boozing parties at the latest hotspots. Seldom was a message about a life and death emergency that would have given birth to an urban legend. At the time we all equated the cellphone to a telegram.

Unfortunately, the cellphone has become so commonplace that it is seriously becoming a real nuisance. They ring incessantly, each with its annoying ringtone.

It is aggravating when the driver lowers the volume right in the middle of Brenda Fassie's Weekend Special or Luther Vandross' Dance with my father.

The conversations are banal. One man called all his brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles and his granny in Venda to the phone to say hello.

There is no meaty conversation, no subject that will make you think about the meaning of life. I mean here is a person giving us a glimpse into his life and it is a big fat zero.

Children - our future - are fixated with this gadget. They call someone and recount the latest chapter and verse in their petty quarrels. It is painful to listen to their petty wrongs while you are trying to get a 15-minute snooze.

One young woman spoke at top volume and discussed the most intimate secrets on her cellphone. We had to listen to tales of a double-cross, triple-cross and other entanglements that boggled a Monday-sluggish brain into full wake-up mode.

I was not sure if these were tall tales or if some people really thrive on these complications. They make us sedentary types look like we are sleeping through a revolution in sexual mores and manners.

My mind has learned to filter out these conversations but there are others whose shock value makes it impossible not to listen.

I wish we could go back to the days when the cellphone was used to order Inkomazi and brown bread.

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