Sitting on the train on the way home from work, a young woman sat down opposite me with no handbag, but she held in her hands two smartphones – one in each hand. One was a HTC and the other had a cover over it so I was unable to identify it.
Clothed in a dress, black leggings, ugg boots, and a black zipped sweater jacket.
Her first instruction on making a call was for the person to phone back on that number because the other phone wasn’t working. She proceeded to have one phone positioned near her left ear while she listened to distorted music playing through the external speaker and have her eyes glued to the other phone held in her right hand. She used her thumb to click and swipe through various options on that screen. Very rarely did she take her eyes off that screen.
It appeared that at one time she was playing a song on the phone near her ear which her boyfriend also appeared to be listening to while he was on the phone.
For almost the entire journey she spoke off and on to her boyfriend except when the connection dropped out (there are a few dead spots on the journey), to which she would connect again afterwards.
On the other phone she attended to a friend request probably via Facebook of which she told her boyfriend. She spoke this to her boyfriend but I did not see what else she was reading, viewing and negotiating while looking at that screen.
So while positioned on a moving train going from one place to another, she traversed both space and time as she conversed with someone almost the entire journey, as if he was sitting beside her. in fact, I could hear his responses on the phone as she had him on speaker phone. Additionally, the music she was playing was also able to be accessed by him and she traversed a sense of privacy by publicly playing her music in a confined space. Thirdly, she negotiated cyberspace and a construction of time as she was able to communicate with other people via social networking sites. I assume one phone was able to send and receive internet data while the other was used to talk and to listen audibly to music. The HTC was the one playing audible music – perhaps it only worked on speaker phone which therefore shaped the way she was talking to her boyfriend.
Compulsive, synchronous use of two devices to negotiate temporalities, timezones and spaces via multiple forms of digital communication.
Present, but not really.
And just annoying.