Sunday, May 15, 2005

Daddy’s Nose: Why You Need A Photo Mobile

The call came through from some pimply teenager in a northern marketing office asking if I wanted an upgrade: “It doesn’t cost you anything. It’s free, as long as you keep your account with Orange” said my new northern friend.

“But I like my phone.” I argued. “It’s simple, I know how it works. All my numbers are in the address book.”

“But you’ll get them all when you put your simcard in your new phone. It’d cost £200 to buy new. It’s much better than your old phone. It’ll be with you tomorrow.” And so on.

Deciding I couldn’t be bothered to talk about this any more, I caved in.

Sure enough, the following day, my new, sleek, silver phone arrived with its colour screen and a little hole in the back for a camera lens. Cool.

A couple of days later I bought a Comic Relief nose and took a picture of me wearing it. I looked an idiot, so I thought it might amuse my wife. I sent it off.

When I arrived home from work my two year old son greeted me: “See Daddy’s nose”. My wife told me that she’d shown the picture to my son and all day after that he’d been pestering her to see the picture of me in the nose. When I put the actual nose on for him to see, he wasn’t very impressed. It was the special picture he liked.

The next day my wife started sending me pictures of the kids. Jack in the high chair, covered in food. Nancy lying on her play mat. Jack on a swing.

There is nothing better than being interrupted in the middle of the working day by these pictures. Of course they make it harder in one way, because they're the evidence of everything I miss out on by not being there. But they give me a connection, and one I can reciprocate by sending a picture of myself back. I’ve started sending them other pictures too. Diggers. Buses. Bridges. Boats. Shops. Trains. Cranes.

I’ve noticed my phone bill’s increased a little. But the couple of quid I spend a month is the best investment I could make. It’s not much, I know, but these little picture messages mean I’m a bit closer to home through the working week. Better than that, they keep me grounded at work. I’m not the big man. I’m just a dad, of a son with painty fingers and a daughter with a smile that could melt icebergs.

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