FIRST and foremost, I guess I should apologise to the shop assistant.
She was helpful and patient and barely even flinched when, after she had spent 10 minutes telling me about the five megapixel camera, the high speed internet and the expanded memory capacity, I asked what had been on my mind since she first started talking: What’s the alarm on that phone like, duck?
God bless her, she stuck a battery in that bad boy, charged it up and tried it out right there in store.
And then, after we listened to it buzzing for a few seconds, she noted: “It sounds, unless I’m mistaken, like an alarm.”
And so it did.
I knew I was being mocked but – perhaps like my dad who ignored his four sons slow-clapping him the Christmas day he bought our mam a deep-fryer – there seemed little chance of asserting my moral authority on the situation.
And so, undeterred, I ploughed on: “When it switches on, will it do that weird thing where the TV or stereo gets interference?”
But they were reasonable questions, weren’t they?
Because here’s the thing: I don’t know what 4MB internet capacity means – and, frankly, about two seconds after you start explaining I’m going to be bored, thinking about something else and wishing you’d stop talking – but I do know I want an alarm in a morning that starts off quietly, gets louder, has a seven-minute snooze facility and doesn’t make John Humphrys’ voice go weird during his ritual humiliation of some politician I’ve never heard of but instinctively disagree with.
That’s what’s important to me.
Not checking Twitter wherever I am, not having continuous access to Google, not being able to film a cat doing something hilarious to upload straight on to YouTube.
Just having a relatively effective wake-up call at a relatively scare-free price.
But how can you go into a shop where most of the contraptions look like they could land a jumbo jet and explain that?
How – and I’m aware I sound like your granddad, cheers – it kills me.
It’s not that I dislike it, as such; it’s just I wish it would offer me the same courtesy I try to extend to it.
That is: to accept one another’s existence and not interfere with each other.
But like Hitler or Tesco, it won’t be appeased. You offer concessions and it invades Poland, or – you know – your living room.
Because I hold my hands up and admit I am the very worst kind of Luddite. The one who moans, refuses to understand or acknowledge, and then, after consideration, secretly decides, ‘Well, blimey, you never know when you might need to upload a picture of a cat doing something hilarious – I better get me one’.
Kindles, laptops, iTunes, even – Ye Gods! – hair straighteners? They have all found a home in my home, despite internal protests.
And 20 minutes after she proves that – yep – the alarm sounds like an alarm, I’m walking out the shop with this thing which – yep – looks like it could land a jumbo jet and which I don’t really understand nor never really expect to, except to say – yep – it’s got pretty nippy broadband.
My alarm, you ask?
It didn’t go off that first morning.