i dash phone

After two years of language study and some hefty exams out of the way, DD finally started his job last week. Now, every morning he gets up early and packs a lunch. His first words to me are still ‘Do you want your tea? Shall I warm it up?’ as they’ll probably be ’til the end of time, but now the person who puts my tea on the bedside table is freshly shaved, donning a suit and bright-eyed with anticipation of the day ahead.

DD is adjusting well to the world of work, or at least to the job itself. But the technological side of it – the need for constant mobile communication – has slightly caught him off guard.

‘Can you teach me this WeChat thing?’ he asked me over the weekend. While he had been studying Chinese and living a quiet life, the rest of the world had moved on from texts to messaging apps, and he hadn’t quite kept up. The messaging app WeChat is so imbedded in China that WeChat IDs are often exchanged in lieu of business cards, while the WeChat news feed, like a lean version of Facebook, is the go-to place for self-promotion, procrastination and stalking. DD discovered in the first few days of his new job that even a civil servant can’t just communicate through memos and emails, and he must now learn yet another language, this time the language of mobile communication.

As a rule, DD is not a fan of mobile communication. His Facebook profile lies stagnant and he is often found in a different room to his phone, causing calls and texts to be missed. He checks his emails once a day on his laptop and logs on to Skype for arranged appointments. His UK mobile is a grimy Nokia that only saves ten texts at a time, and when we came to China he bought the cheapest possible smartphone that stalled at the slightest demand.

But a few weeks ago, the earth finally shifted.

‘I think I’m going to get an iPhone,’ DD said, glancing warily at mine.

‘Oh my god, why?’ I said.

‘Because I want to be able to use Pleco (a Chinese-English dictionary) on my phone,’ he replied.

I laughed, but agreed that installing any app on his non-smartphone would be a disaster. So DD set out on his research, emailing his friends about where and how they acquired their iPhones in Beijing.

A few days later, I happened to glance at the email.

‘Er,’ I said, ‘you’ve written ‘i-Phone’.’

‘Is that not right?’ DD asked.

‘No, it’s ‘iPhone’, no dash,’ I said.

‘Oh no, everyone will think I’m an idiot,’ he said sadly. ‘And I was so proud I’d remembered that it was a small ‘i’.’

Despite the embarrassment, DD and his i dash phone are co-habiting reasonably well, although he’s not much impressed with the design and still hasn’t got round to giving out his new number. But at least he has installed two apps, Pleco and WeChat. And for now, I think that’s quite enough.


Copyright © 2014 followingdrdippy

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