Grrrr! It started from about 9 pm on December 31. I got around 20 messages on my mobile phone. They all said the same thing: “I wanted to be the first person to wish you, so I thought I would send my message before the mobile networks jammed. Happy….”. Whatever. I’m in that minority who do not believe in sending group messages. And, correspondingly, I am one of those who’s very happy if the mobile networks jam on such nights — apologies to those who need to make emergency calls — as no one can then keep me awake.
But last night, the mobile companies had worked overtime to ensure that networks did not get jammed. So I got messages. After the first 20 from those who were the “first to wish me”, I started getting the ‘cutesy’ ones. These are the ‘I-have-a-sense-of-humour” SMSes, which really wear thin by the time you’ve read the same one for the fifth time. “George Bush, JK Rowling, Shakira and XYZ [name of my friend] wish you Happy New Year.” That’s supposed to be funny.
By midnight, the mushy ones arrived. These, of course, are punctuated by calls from drunks who’ve forgotten that I am in the middle of middle age and need sleep if I am to look even passably human the next day. I think they used to call it ‘beauty sleep’ when I was younger. The emotional overload of the messages ranges from the confessional — “I know I have been neglecting my friends but my new year resolution is…” — to warm wishes — “I hope 2008 brings you the best of life” — to the plain maudlin — “As we look back on the year that went by, and at promises that we should have kept...” Humbug! Morons! Don’t you realise you may have sent your message at 8 pm but it reached me through different times of the night?
That said, my personal favourite for this year’s raspberry was an SMS that read: “I just read an article on the dangers of drinking, scared the hell out of me, so my new year resolution is no more reading. Happy New Year.” Quite hackneyed, yes, but the sender this year was a friend who works for a cola company, who missed the irony. But the non-stop barrage of messages do serve a purpose. You get to update your phone book as people not on your phone book send you messages. So go ahead, send me a message. It just helps me to store your number so I can avoid taking your call next time.