I’ve been getting to grips with my new smart phone this week.
After haggling with my mobile company, I was given a sleek and shiny modern version which meant I could finally throw out my much-loved but much abused and out-of-date old one.
After my grandson tossed it down a flight of stairs, the battery was being held in place by tape and I was taking some heat from the girls in the office.
“Can’t believe you’re using that thing, Kate. It’s ancient,” they mocked.
“Does the job,” I replied curtly.
However, when my hair got caught in the tape when I was trying to make a call, I joined my colleagues who burst out laughing.
The old phone’s number was up.
I packed it off for recycling, using yet more tape, and received my new one.
“Where’s the buttons with the numbers on?” my mother asked. “Doesn’t look like a phone to me.”
“You just dial using the screen,” I answered, even though I hadn’t successfully called anyone.
But when I started to learn how to use it, I couldn’t stop.
I spent hours going through all its features, and giggling at all the silly ring tones.
Then, after numerous conversations at work, I downloaded an app.
It was pretty painless, although the actual app should have come with a warning.
It was a silly game where you move little gems around the screen, racking up points for putting similar ones in a row.
At first I just played it when I was totally bored, such as when I was on the train or during the adverts on Corrie.
But a few days later, I started to “find time” to play it.
I, shamefully, told a friend that I had to end our telephone chat because there was someone at the door, when I just itching to beat my new high score.
“This is ridiculous, Kate,” I told myself.
“You’re a grandmother, for the love of God.”
But I was totally in the grips of addiction, and I started playing it before going to bed.
One slow Friday, I did my usual channel hopping and opted to listen to the radio instead.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my phone just sitting there.
Due to a huge workload, not to mention constraint, I hadn’t played all day.
“Just once won’t hurt,” I muttered to myself.
An hour later, I realised I was sitting in the dark and my eyes were starting to nip.
“Right, that’s it, no more.”
I realised I had gone too far, and promptly called my friend who I had so rudely hung up on before.
“Wish you’d told me, Kate,” she said. “I could have warned you about that one.”
“Don’t worry, Mary,” I told her. “I’m a changed woman.”
“No addiction will ever get the better of Kate Livingstone!” I said, as I happily sipped a gin and tonic.