Home » Apologies for everything » The Omega version

The Omega version

January 14th, 1991. The Marketing Manager leaned forward, pushing an object the size of a small paving slab across the boardroom table. Resting on it, connected by a curly cord, was a telephone handset. ‘Do you think there could be a consumer market for these?’ he asked. The Creative Director gazed at the mobile phone, before replying: ‘Only if you can get the price under fifty quid.’
May 4th, 2001. Wrestling an object the size and thickness of a cigarette packet from his trousers pocket, the Creative Director flipped open the clamshell cover and peered at the tiny screen. His daughter was calling, but as he tried to answer the car drove under a bridge and he lost the call. Emerging the other side, he pulled over in a bus-stop layby and started to key the number. Battery Low, came the message. ‘Bloody technology!’ he snarled. It was all rather dispiriting.
July 19th, 2014. The Creative Director, now retired, wandered into the high-street store and placed his battered phone on the counter. ‘I’ve had a text to say my contract is up this month’, he began. ‘So I’m due an upgrade?’ ‘Certainly’, brightened the assistant. ‘We have this, or this … or the new iPhone…’ Opening a small box, he produced a wafer-thin, shiny tablet, little bigger than a credit card. ‘It has 3Gb memory, global-positioning, 250Mb of internet access, 14 megapixel camera, face recognition, High Definition video…’ ‘Does it make phone calls?’ the Creative Director asked, half-joking.
September 6th, 2020. Silvery-haired and deaf in one ear, the Creative Director limped into the store, and with nervous reluctance accosted the diffident youth behind the counter. ‘I’m due another upgrade,’ he announced speculatively. The young man jabbed at a button on the virtual keypad in front of him, and a curled strip of something shiny extruded from the printer. It looked like an ordinary till receipt. ‘So, where’s the phone?’ asked the Creative Director. ‘That IS the phone’, the assistant replied, tearing it off and handing it to him. The molecule-thin strip of graphene lit up. ‘You have five emails from your ex-wife’, it announced brightly. ‘Should I call your lawyer?’
January 4th, 2025. Leaning breathlessly on his Zimmer frame, the Creative Director fixed the shop assistant with a rheumy eye. ‘Upgrade’, he whispered hoarsely. ‘Phone. What have you got?’ ‘That’s fine’, breezed the assistant. ‘All done.’ ‘What do you mean?’ asked the old man. ”Where’s the phone?’ ‘This IS the phone’, said the young man, gesturing vaguely around the room, to the street outside. ‘You’re the phone. I’m the phone. It’s all the phone.’ ‘So how do I make a call?’ ‘You just… call. There’s no trick to it. Look, who would you like to call?’ ‘My daughter in California?’ suggested the Creative Director, hopelessly. ‘Hi Dad’, said a familiar voice, apparently inside his head. He seemed to be floating in a grey mist.
June 14th, 2026. ‘Poor old guy’, said the paramedic, with brisk finality. ‘He was due an upgrade. Looks like he got the Omega version.’


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