I'm really going off mobile phones. Time was I used to think they were amazing toys (this was back when they were the size of leather-clad housebricks and about as heavy) then I came to see them as useful tools - this was when they looked like they were created by Volvo's racier designers nipping across to Finland on their lunch-breaks. (I think my Nokia 3210 was the favourite of all the phones I have owned). Nowadays I just hate the fucking things. I'm sure in twenty years time there is going to be a known medical condition caused by the excessive amount of time people walk around with the things pressed to their ear. I'm not talking about people microwaving half their brains but something more physical. I can't work out whether it is going to be some form of lop-sided arthritic thing in the shoulders or some weird squinty sight thing as people deform their eyes by walking around with an elbow stuck out in front of them thus blocking half their field of vision.
These days I try to use mine as little as possible. Nothing I do is that urgent. Or important.
What I really hate about the fuckers these days is the cameras. All phones have cameras in them. Sometimes more than one. One facing one way, one the other - so you can take pictures of yourself taking pictures of someone else. And people do take pictures. Christ do they take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Pictures of everything. Themselves, themselves hugging a mate holding a camera taking a picture of themselves being hugged, what they're about to eat, what their kid did a couple of minutes ago that was really cute and is now looking less that cute as the kid is getting pissed off with trying to recreate it as someone tries to get their camera to work properly. "No, it's really cute, just keep doing it while I clear some memory..." (ie deleting the last-but-one cute thing you did that didn't turn out to be so cute after five minutes fannying around with the phone). Last year, at number one son's nursery Christmas concert, nearly all the mums and dads were filming the little darlings - and watching the screens of their cameras. Their sprogs were 'Away in a Mangering', and 'Little Baby Jesusing', and 'Santa Got Stuck up the Chimneying' fit to bust and most of their parents were watching them on little screens held up over the heads of the parents holding their phones up in the row in front. It was surreal. I felt I was the only one in the audience and everyone else was watching it on the telly.
Sometimes I do use my phone's camera. Sometimes I use it on purpose but mostly I take pictures of my thumb, a chunk of floor, or the side of whatever it is I've dropped the phone behind. A great deal of my prolonged hatred of phone cameras (like all digital cameras) is that I have no idea what I'm doing with the things. There are too many options. When I do intentionally take pictures it's of shit like this, one of the more baffling pieces of apostrophe abuse I have seen recently. (It's in a shop window in Fort William if anyone is mapping this sort of thing.):
Or this, spotted in Morrison's supermarket.
Stout Chicken Thigh.
I hate skinny chicken thighs. 'Wow!' I though, 'These must be really big chickens if they sell the drumsticks individually! No wonder they sold out!' Turns out that they were cooked in Guinness.
And for years I've been puzzling why Tesco's stock their cat litter on the shelves next to the muesli and porridge. They've been doing it for years. Tesco's aren't stupid; there must be some reason for this. Some subtle, exploitable, association in the average consumer's mind between crunchy, fruity Alpen and absorbent, odour-neutralising kitty litter. I wonder what it is. Do other shops do this?