Tech a Step Forward

The poetry project is coming along well, even if I do have the occasional crisis of faith in regards to their quality. The student bank account is officially open and all related numbers are in the process of being crunched. As I sit here writing this, I am simultaneously badgering Mum about the university “big shop” and when we’ll actually be going to do it – by next Christmas, I might have a definitive answer. The final preparations are therefore all progressing nicely, and one in particular has got me very excited, as last week – after a great deal of insistence from my family – I finally became a smartphone owner, acquiring a shiny new iPhone SE.

My previous phone, a white HTC Wildfire S, had served me well for almost seven years before its demise on the bathroom floor a couple of months ago. I had seen no point in changing my phone at all, hence why it lasted so long, but towards the end of its tenure the HTC was becoming increasingly tired and obsolete. Yes, it still called and texted as I wanted it to, but its limited memory meant that there was very little room for apps – indeed, the app store I originally got them from had been upgraded and no longer opened – and those I did have were of poor quality or did not work properly. I couldn’t see or use emojis in texts, weather updates were non-existent and on the outside, the phone appeared dirty and battle-worn. The time for change had finally come, so I was somewhat glad when the HTC was pronounced well and truly dead. It may have been considered smart in 2011, but it had been left far behind by its rivals in 2018. I now had to decide on a replacement – and in the meantime, Tesco would provide a temporary substitute.

This came in the form of a MobiWire (no, me neither), which – until Friday – I had been using since around mid-June. It was about as basic as phones get, and actually had buttons on it, but it would have to do for the time being. I had certainly forgotten how long it used to take to send texts before the advent of the smartphone – it may have been what you might call a “first world problem”, but having to select each individual letter from groups of three or four very quickly started to drive me round the bend. This annoyance was thankfully ended when I settled on the iPhone and the perfect contract deal that came with it. It was swiftly delivered the next day, and I gratefully extracted it from its box to set it up. Once this had been done, I thought about what I needed from it, keeping my Winchester future firmly in mind. My old phone number and contacts were all immediately swapped over, before my focus turned to the vast array of apps potentially at my disposal.

Excluding a couple of games, as well as Facebook and Twitter, I only have things that are relevant to university installed at the moment. There are two mobile banking apps, the recording software I will use in my lectures, a social network allowing me to connect with other students, a portal to various student discounts, and an app from my mobile network that will provide me with relevant updates. I think you’ll agree that as statements of intent, these initial additions are very mature – although I’m sure I’ll be seduced by the lure of mobile gaming at some point! I haven’t forgotten WordPress, in case you were wondering, since that has pride of place on my home screen too. University work may prove itself to be intense at times, but as long as I keep on top of things, nothing will get in the way of Third Time Enabled. You’ll be with me every step of the way!



The First Sign of Maturity

Being a mere 19, I can hardly call myself old, but at the very least I’d like to think that I could describe myself as mature (apart from when I’m around Will, of course). I’m definitely growing up, becoming a man, and – let’s face it – not getting any younger, even at this early stage of life. What that means is that there’s already been a point at which I’ve noticed my rapid ascent into adulthood, and that observations have been made about how I’m looking, talking, thinking and acting as a result of this. It’s not just me that the observations have come from, however, because the wider world has offered them too – and sometimes in very random and unexpected places. I don’t even necessarily have to look for them, because in an instant they’re as clear as day and right under my nose.

Let me tell you about one particular example that I noticed. It’s something very run of the mill, and not at all like the earth-shattering realisation of all the adult responsibilities you’ll soon have as you get older, but I nevertheless found it interesting as well as mildly amusing. During my lunch breaks at my recent place of work, I’d take my wheelchair up to a patch of grass in a public space to eat my sandwiches, and this meant that I could peoplewatch to my heart’s content whilst I was at it. Peoplewatching is one of the simplest pleasures that life can offer, so long as it’s done discreetly and without a weird hidden agenda, and in some cases even observing from a distance can reveal quite a lot about life and those in front of you. On one occasion, I was minding my own business with my ham, lettuce and mayonnaise sarnie when my eyes darted across to the ice-cream which was often nearby – and which always seemed to be there when it wasn’t sunny and there were few people around to buy from it! Sure enough, business was very slow, but the treats on offer did have one taker.

This was it – one of the moments where the innocence of youth very briefly gave way to a cynical, straight-faced, humourless adult. Standing before this ice-cream van, waiting to receive his Mr Whippy, was a little boy – and not a toddler. He was at least seven and certainly didn’t seem to be ill, and it wasn’t exactly the height of holiday season at this point either. Therefore, my brain came to an immediate but unexpected conclusion, namely one that automatically led me to silently utter five immortal words:

“Shouldn’t you be in school?”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that was the moment when I truly shocked myself into realising that despite being in the spring of my years, I was definitely getting older and had encountered the titular “first sign of maturity”. My reaction to the sight of this little boy surprised me because I thought it unlike me to be so judgemental, and of course I knew very well that there could have been any number of legitimate reasons why he was eating ice-cream instead of sitting in class. In that case, then, perhaps it wasn’t a conscious exclamation at all, but the sort of outlook that arrives unannounced as you gradually experience all that life has to throw at you. If that’s true, then maybe it’s even more of an incentive to stay positive, open-minded and chirpy – and to be a bit more considerate when peoplewatching!