The cough is no better, the cold hasn't gone away and Project X is still held-up at the traffic lights from Hell.
On-line / off-line... we nowadays live in a universe where two worlds don't exactly collide, they sniggle-snuggle up to overlap to such an extent that the blur between one reality and the other reality isn't so much a blur but a lightly sprayed mist (rose-water flavour please).
Fast backwards to a bar... it could have been any old bar but, in fact, it was a pretty swish one that I was in the other night. It isn't, I confess, my more normal sort of watering hole - in fact, far from it.
For a start, there isn't even a bar... there are numerous tables and the lights - such as they are - have been dimmed to about three levels above pitched-darkness - so dark that I have to use feel and touch to locate my glasses that I've placed on the table in front of me with which to read the cocktail menu that has been placed there by a (probably aspiring film-starlet) babe. She's sporting a skirt so short that one misplaced step and a penchant for all things south-american would, doubtless, be revealed.
I end up lighting my lighter to read said menu, the two minature-sized candles shedding nowhere near enough light. The fact that I actually use a lighter to cast enough light on the subject matter nearly causes the micro-skirted waitress an apoplexy what with the recent(ish) smoking ban everywhere... however, when no accompanying cigarette / spliff / cigar or other combustible appears from out of my pocket, the sense of relief heard from nearby-quarters is almost palpable. Drinks are ordered and the mini-skirt sashays away into the distance with the majority of the male clients of said bar following her every hip-movement.
Three tables away are a couple... he's probably early-forties and dressed in that sort of I-work-in-the-City-but-I'm-in-a-bar-and-so-I-can-wear-my-after-work garb - ie carefully cut chinos, beautifully polished shoes and a properly pressed shirt with a jumper thrown ludicrously around his shoulders. His companion - his wife, his lover, his girlfriend or someone else's wife (I wonder) is similarly dressed down. Urban chic for all to see. Their drinks arrive, what look like a brace of Martinis, shaken hard and not awash in a sea of crushed ice.
One assumes they both have pretty high-powered jobs - well, neither of them are scaffolders... and, one'd assume that either A or B has suggested they meet up for a bit of drink and then head off somewhere nice for a spot of dinner before back to his / hers / theirs for a little horizontal jog.
To all intents and purposes, just a normal couple, out for an early evening drink. Nothing wrong with that... surely?
Of course not... but... why the hell are they both sitting there, drinks to one side untouched... the both of them hammering away as if nothing else matters at their respective Blackberrys? Why?
Are they not pleased to see each other... have they nothing to say to one another... or... have their on-line / off-line worlds colluded to such a degree that the reality of human interaction... ie talking to one another... has become a thing of the past.
It did / had in the Material Girl's household where - if reports are anything to go by - the husband was required by the wife to set time aside in the diary for sex. Is that penetrative sex? Because if so, I'd have thought a quick visit to Viagra.com would have been in order - its hardly a turn on to have one's time for hanky-panky, bit of spanky, written up like a things to make and do list in the office diary.
I sip at my own viciously-shaken Martini... and observe from out the corner of my eye him 'n her three tables away. In the space of half an hour they don't utter a word to one another; they're consumed by their mobile-information-technology-gathering-devices...
We all use the bloody things... and I'm not complaining. This is the 21st Century after all and no, I'm not harking back with a I'd-rather-live-in-the-Middle-Ages point of view. Far from it.
Its just this that I simply don't understand... why do we nowadays seem to inhabit a world in which we simply cannot switch off?
Why is that that every single mobile call has to be answered - no matter where and when and how inconvenient and annoying it may be to others around one? Why is it that people (appear to) subscribe to the view that the next incoming Blackberry message matters more than the situation they're in currently? Why oh why, is there this need for... this search for... this belief that... the grass the other side of the fence has got to be greener?
Because, generally speaking... it isn't.
Like Frankie said... Relax.