I’m feeling particularly grumpy at the moment on the subject of the electronic misfits who are causing me grief and pain, due to their inability to communicate electronically. In fact, they’re DRIVING ME NUTS.  And because I have my own blog, I have the luxury of ranting and raving about them to my heart’s content, possibly irritating my loyal readers in the process.  On the other hand maybe your lives are also being needlessly complicated by these social pests, and you may be applauding vigorously and shouting “Give that blogger a medal for telling it like it is!”

Here’s the Big Question: Why, oh why, do people give out their cell-phone numbers and their e-mail addresses if they have neither the intention nor the ability to use these tools? They will airily tell you, as if it were a laudable trait and they are much too busy and important to be bothered with such trivia:  Oh I never check my e-mail.  Or: I can’t be bothered with all those texts – it’s just a kids’ thing.  What they mean is: I don’t really understand technology and I’m too intimidated by it, or  too lazy, to learn to use it.

People –  here is a public broadcast: go to the nearest child, your grandchild, or anybody between the ages of 10 and 14 – and ask them to show you how. Trust me, they have texting down to a fine art. Watch them nimbly holding their phone in their palm, while texting rapidly with only two fingers of the same hand.

If you can’t understand the mechanics of e-mail, or can’t type, go on a course. Learn how! It’s not that difficult. You don’t have to be a wizard touch typist bashing away at 75 words per minute. Two fingers will do the trick.  In fact, I have a friend who is a professional writer, and he’s a two-finger typist. He churns out articles, book reviews and novels quite nicely thank you, despite his two-finger technique.  He also refuses to own a cell-phone, due to his hearing defect.  Now I have no problem with this approach: you can phone the man up on his landline and either he, or his answering machine will take the call.  Send him an e-mail, and you get an almost instant response. This is called communicating.

I send you a message, and you respond. As a system it works beautifully. Where the system breaks down is when people give you their cell-phone number, and then never respond to your text messages. Or they dish out their e-mail address and never check their mail, and your enquiries languish unseen and unanswered.

You may be wondering why I don’t phone up these electronic sluggards?  The reason is simple economics.  The cost of voice calls on my cell-phone and landline are very expensive, and I’m a pensioner, on a limited budget.  Text messages and e-mails are remarkably cheap, plus they are easy and above all, quick.

So, in conclusion: if you are a closet technophobe, unable to use electronic media effectively, then please, please, I’m begging you: don’t hand out your contact details.  You are causing endless delays and complications. And you’re sending my blood pressure into the stratosphere.

There. I’ve said it.  The chances of the culprits reading my rant are minimal. Because of their technophobia they will no more log on to this blog than fly in the sky unaided.

As for the rest of you – thank you for listening so patiently.




  1. Graeme

    hear hear




    Quite agree, Alison! So you can’t mean me, then!
    A suggestion – for you and the miscreants – is to download Skype and then speak for free. The download is free. If your/their computer doesn’t have a webcam. there will be no eye-to-eye, but you will still be able to hear one another. You may also need to buy an inexpensive microphone to plug in to your computer.
    Personally, I have a problem that people call me when they see me on Skype, and I sometimes feel that, like Facebook, one is always living one’s life in public view!
    Facebook, when used well, as you do, Alison, is great. However when it is used for ‘communicating’ all the rubbish I have seen, then it is not good. It becomes a written mode of instantly being able to pass on drivel, which all readers have to read, too!
    Even worse, for me, personally, is the person who sits on a bus/walks round a supermarket etc talking for hours to someone who will be waiting for their bus to arrive at which point the conversation could have taken place in private as opposed to a whole bus load of passengers having to listen to someone’s inflated idea of their own importance. I know that you do not use public transport as often as we do here in UK, but I shall never forget my one and only Greyhound bus trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg, when the person behind me started talking on the mobile phone as we pulled away in CT and was still talking when we arrived in Johannesburg!!!!

    So, I agree, Alison. When used discreetly and well. modern methods of communication are wonderful. If people do not want to use them. then, as you say, don’t advertise your addresses. Eileen


  3. Well put, Alison. We like to use Skype too, particularly for international calls. Although our internet is nowhere near as fast as that in the US, you can still have a face-to-face video call with someone, which is really nice. And even nicer, it will be free if both parties have Skype on their computers; well, as South Africans we would still be paying for the bandwidth we use on our internet connection, but even that is far less expensive than phoning via Telkom.


  4. Eileen/Reggie : I seem to have touched a nerve with my ranting on the communications topic. Cellphone pests are a whole ‘nother soapbox. Given time, I may well vent on this subject too!


  5. Marilyn

    Talk about touching a nerve – you hit it spot on! Don’t get me started on chain mail – those people who send you 20 angels and all kinds of things and it would take 2 secs to ask how you are and send love!
    Well done!!


  6. Pauline

    Well said Alison, there is nothing more frustating than to send an email and never have the reply that is needed in time, four or five requests for the same thing! Really, if they need to brag about their skills then perhaps we all need to beware of these types.It used to be called a common courtesy to reply, people like this have no respect, Next blog please ! Pauline.


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