Pangolo Junction
Life, arguments, and kunu... with Max, Nat and Zack

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Mixing business with pleasure, mobile phone features and the moral fibre of society

Good day, once more. You join me, Atala Wala Wala, as I am about to take another peek into the world of Max, Nat and Zack as they discuss… oh, whatever it is they'll be discussing this evening...

(It is early evening. Max, Nat and Zack are seated round a table in the bar, with the usual bottle of kunu. Max is excitedly jabbering instructions into a mobile phone, while Nat and Zack are looking at him with expressions of resignation and impatience respectively.)

Max: ...nononononono, don't tell him that! All we need to do is to find a credible supplier... of course we can! It's just a matter of hooking up with our connection in Singapore, not so? (Long pause, as Max listens intently to the phone with expressions that rapidly alternate between disgust, irriation, anger, relief and finally ecstasy.) You mean it? You really, really mean it? Jean-Baptiste, you are a saviour! I will definitely remember you when I get to heaven. (Glances at the expressions on the faces of his friends.) OK, J-B, I've gotta go. I'm holding up the party here. I'll speak to you later. Bye!

Zack: And not before time too. 45 minutes of my life wasted forever and ever.

Nat: What on earth was that about?

Max: Guys, I am so sorry about that. You know how it is... business finds you at the most inconvenient places. There was a time I was with this hot babe I'd been chasing for weeks... I'd made the right moves, spun the right lines and had finally got her to come down to my flat for some serious action...

Zack: Spare us the sordid details please, and get on with your story.

Max: OK, anyway we were just about to get down to business when my GSM rang. It was my main man, Jean-Baptiste Anugileme with a lead about a deal that could make me millions! What's more, he said that what he wanted to discuss couldn't be postponed – he needed to talk about it now!

Nat: So which did you choose – love or money?

Zack: Actually Nat, you meant to say "lust or the remote prospect of money".

Max: Zachariah, your jealousy has been duly noted. Anyway Nat, this is Maximillian M. Ugwi that you're talking to here – the past master of the art of wheeling and dealing while wining and dining. Of course I didn't have to choose.

I took the girl in my arms and explained that under any other circumstances I would have shown my disdain for anyone trying to come between us on this most special of evenings by hurling my GSM through the window. But sadly, this was not a normal circumstance. I painted in vivid pictures how absolutely crucial this deal was, how rare an opportunity it was and how its success would change my life – our lives – for the better. By the time I had finished, she was begging me to take that call. And of course, when I was done with J-B and turned my attention back to her...

Nat (hurriedly interrupting): OK, I think we get the picture. Of course I don't think I would have been able to handle the situation as well as you did, Max. It would have been too much of a context switch for me to move from whispering sweet nothings to talking hard business. I'd probably have switched my GSM off right away.

Max: You're funny o! Anyone hearing you talk would think that you regularly had to fight off girls begging you to whisper sweet nothings into their ears or that you clinched deals left, right and centre.

Nat: Em... Er... (He falls silent.)

Zack: Don't you think you should be ashamed of yourself for mocking your friend's lack of success in the areas that you happen to have done well in?

Max: I'm sorry Nat, I didn't mean it to come out like that. But really, I don't have a problem with dealing with GSM phone calls in any situation. In fact, I sometimes wonder how we ever survived without GSMs.

Zack: We survived by getting off our butts and actually going to meet people – but of course, we're now too lazy to do that, and we think that a GSM call is sufficient instead.

Max: You cannot be serious! You're trying to tell me that instead of staying in the comfort of my home and discussing a deal with someone, I should brave hours of madness on the road going to meet the same person... when I don't even know if that person will be in? You're talking rubbish!

Zack: No, it's you that's talking rubbish! You think if you want to clinch an important deal, you'll do it over the phone? You think that you can sustain an entire relationship on the phone without seeing or interacting physically with the other person in the relationship?

Nat: Guys, guys, I think you're both right. I think that the GSM saves a lot of the bother that Max has just spoken about, but it won't completely replace the kind of contact that Zack has just spoken of, well not right away at least.

Zack (in a suspicious tone): What do you mean, not right away?

Nat: Well, you can see the way things are going right now. In the beginning, there were just GSM phones which you could talk and text with. Then came phones that allowed you to send picture messages and surf the net. Now there are phones that let you play videos, so I think it's only a matter of time before you have phones that allow you to see a three dimensional representation of the person you are speaking to...

Max: I'd settle for a GSM phone that allowed me to transport the person who I was speaking to so that they were physically present before me. Do you think that we'll have that soon?

Nat: Uh... well, I don't really know, but...

Zack: How about a phone which not only does all you have mentioned plus what Max mentioned, but also allows me to transport myself to wherever I want?

Nat: Er... I'm not sure...

Max (smirking) : Or a phone which not only does all of the above but is also able to produce endless amounts of money on demand?

Nat: Oh, OK, I get it. This is another feeble attempt by both of you to mock my predictions. Well it doesn't matter whether you believe me or not – it's going to happen anyway.

Zack: I'd place a moratorium on the developments of further additions to GSM phone features if I were able. I'm really concerned about the effect they're having on the moral fibre of society.

Max (sotto voce): And once again, Pastor Zachariah ascends the pulpit to preach death and damnation.

Zack: I know why you're sniping Max, because you'd be one of the first people to be affected if my ban went into effect!

Nat: But how exactly can a GSM phone affect society negatively?

Zack: Well for one, it makes it easier for you to lie to your spouse about where exactly you are, and it also allows you to carry on affairs without your spouse knowing about them – that is, if you are able to buy a second GSM handset.

Max: Pastor Zachariah, even if you ban technology all the way back to the Stone Age, I assure you that people will still find a way to lie and cheat – so you're wasting your time.

Nat: And what about the vast majority of non-lying and non-cheating people who do use GSM phones productively? Why should they be made to suffer for the sins of the lying, cheating minority?

Zack: I'm not talking about banning anything that is currently being used – I'm just saying that there are these negative effects that they're already causing that we need to be aware of before adding new features to these phones.

Nat: It would be possible to address your concerns if we knew what new so-called negative effects you were worried about the new features introducing. But really, we can't always predict to what use people will put the new features!

For example, the way a camera phone was probably originally intended to be used was to take photos of scenes and people. But these days, people can use it to capture information (like some text in a notice on a notice board). Or they can use it to send additional information to someone (for example if you want to show someone what a particular product is like and can't describe it in words). Even when text messaging came out, nobody predicted that it would be as wildly popular as it is today!

Zack: I just think that before GSM phone manufacturers add any new features, they should do some proper research and piloting amongst a small group of people to determine what possible uses the new features could be put towards so that they can redesign the phone accordingly.

Max: Come off it, Zack – you're just being unrealistic! There is absolutely no new technology on this earth that doesn't have its bad side as well as its good. Cars kill people in accidents, but would you suggest banning all cars? The most important thing is to ensure that the good that comes out of the technology outweighs the bad.

Zack (heatedly): Of course you don't care about whether people are dying or suffering from the 'bad' as long as you're making money out of it!

Max (raising his voice): And you don't care whether people are dying or suffering from lack of technology as long as your moral paradise is preserved intact!

Zack: Well you can say what you like – I personally refuse to join the mad craze for the latest technology for technology's sake. (Just then, Zack's phone rings. He takes it out of his pocket to answer it, but it is snatched away by Max, who jumps up and sprints for the exit, only pausing to turn back to Zack and say "Just trying to save you from joining the mad craze for the latest technology!" before finally sprinting out of the bar. An enraged Zack roars, jumps out of his chair and dashes after him in hot pursuit.)

Nat: Oh well, at least they left me the rest of the bottle of kunu. (He smiles to himself and carries on drinking.)

And there we must leave it for another evening. I hope to see you soon.




  • Once again, I'm still loving your style.
    I especially loved the end when Max sprints away with Zack's phone...LOL

    Meanwhile, what kind of name is Zongo (Max's last name)?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 20, 2006 10:43 am  

  • Hey, Nilla - glad you're still liking it.

    OK, I admit - 'Zongo' is just a placeholder for Max's eventual surname (which I haven't decided yet). Any suggestions?

    By Blogger Atala Wala Wala, At December 21, 2006 11:39 am  

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