Monday, 29 May 2017

THE TROUBLE WITH SMART PHONES.


                                                 Mobile phones: smokers are losing out.



THERE'S a major flaw in the design of smart phones. And it's one I spotted very recently, as I passed a busy restaurant on a Friday night.

Inside the restaurant, people were eating, talking, snap-chatting their food and keeping their children quiet by letting them play on their phones.

Outside, was a small group of smokers. They chatted in that way strangers chat, when they know they will only share a few minutes of conversation, but are linked, and somehow bonded, by their mutual habit.

Smokers already have one hand occupied - holding the cigarette.

Because of the public places indoor smoking ban in Ireland, our smokers congregate in designated areas, to indulge their craving. In the workplace, this tends to be in an outside 'shelter'. For bars, restaurants and caf├ęs, it's simply on the pavement.

And here's the problem with the modern smart phone: it's not designed to use with one hand. Smokers already have one hand occupied - holding the cigarette. It's simply not practical to try to negotiate all that swiping and scrolling and social media posting, with the other.

Which means they're left with nothing to do, except smoke their cigarette and talk to each other! Sometimes, they even make eye contact. Somebody might crack a joke and others will laugh.

A new person to the group might introduce himself. A bit of hand shaking has even been known to happen. Because that's still something you can do with one free hand.

Nothing quite so archaic happens amongst the non-smokers. A friend of mine has lunch every day in her staff canteen. And every day she notices two twenty-something women who lunch together. At least, they sit opposite each other at the same table. They could be friends. She's not sure.

She's never actually seen them talk. She has waited, patiently, trying to catch them at it. But so far, nothing. Sometimes, they pick at the food in front of them. But mostly they take pictures of it.

Rarely do they lift their heads from their smart phones. Clearly, there's no need. The phones provide everything the two women want.

They barely look up from their phones when she is serving their food.

Another friend works in a restaurant. She regularly serves a family of five. The couple have young children. All have smart phones. Apparently, it works brilliantly for everyone involved, as nobody has to engage in conversation.

The parents don't talk to each other. Nor do they talk to their children. They barely look up, when she serves their food.

Neither of the parents seems to smoke, she tells me. Which must be a relief, as one can't imagine how they'd manage, for however long it takes to smoke a cigarette.

As I said, a flaw. One IT solution that has so far eluded all the brains in Silicone Valley.

Because right now, on any given day, and through no fault of their own, smokers enjoy the most sociable breaks of us all.

If that isn't discrimination, what is?

                                                        *



Dear reader,

Hello from my corner of Dublin! I'd be delighted if you'd 
SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.
   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. See sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.


                                                                             

#smartphones #design #socialmedia #humour #ThisFunnyIrishLife

Monday, 15 May 2017

SPIDERS 'n RODENTS 'n SNAKES: OH NO!


   







Hamsters: small, cute and not a bit scary.




I AM afraid of spiders.

Correction: I am really, really afraid of spiders.

Irrationally so, of course, because as I live in Ireland, the only dangerous spiders to be found, are in the tropical house in the zoo.


It's a long time since I've been there. We used to take the offspring a lot when they were younger. They were fascinated. So was I, in a slightly horrified but trying-not-to-be-in-front-of-my-kids kind of way.


I'm not sure if there's a deep, psychological reason for my fear of spiders. Obviously, I'm not an arachnophobe. I can actually walk into a room where there's a spider. Once the spider is on the far side of the room. And it's no bigger than the tip of my little finger. And one of us is leaving the room soon.


They're usually an OMG-he's-so-cute-what's-he-called?!

I am sure I am afraid of other creatures too. Snakes probably. I've never actually seen one that isn't behind reinforced glass. St Patrick had the right idea when he drove them out of Ireland. What we were thinking, when we decided to bring a few of them back in, is anyone's guess!


And obviously I wouldn't be all that keen on rodents. The wild ones. Although I know for a fact that I'm not as bad as some people.

I have a friend who is so terrified of mice, that she can't bear to say the word. Her friends are not allowed to mention it in her company. If they must be referred to, one says, 'the animal that rhymes with house'. I'm not kidding.


One year, Santa Claus brought her youngest child a hamster. I quite like hamsters. They respond well to being handled and they don't have a long tail. They have tiny ears, and a habit of storing food in their cheeks. On the cute scale, they're usually an OMG-he's-so-cute-what's-he-called?!


Hammy the Hamster was resident...the friend and I made a pact.

The friend was having none of it. The hamster lived in a very clean hutch in a corner of the youngest child's bedroom. During the whole time it lived there, the friend refused to go into her child's room, unless the hutch was first moved or covered.

As far as she was concerned, there was no difference between Hammy the Hamster (names have been changed to protect the rights of the rodent) and every mouse in existence.


Spiders, on the other hand, keep showing up in their web loads.

The same friend, however, is not afraid of spiders. And she lives right across the street.


For the two years that Hammy the Hamster was resident on our road, the friend and I made a pact: one initiated by her. The deal was that if Hammy managed to escape his hutch, the friend would come running across to me. I would go in, capture the mad hamster and return him safely to The Hutch, Corner of the Bedroom. 

If I in turn, encountered a spider, she would come straight over and return it to the garden. It was a deal which suited us both.


The only problem of course, is that Hammy has long since gone to hamster heaven. Spiders, on the other hand, keep showing up in their web loads. 

It's as if they've heard on the arachnid grapevine, that we're a spider-friendly house (they're delusional), or that there are lots of places to hide (it's an old house, so they're probably right), or that there's a plentiful food supply.

There could definitely be something to that last theory. Because the second I open a window or door, at least one fly joins us inside. It's as though they just circle, biding their time, until I cave. But I digress.

It hardly seems fair to the friend that I would call on her help these days. She doesn't need me, to deal with escaping hamsters. So I have to face my fears alone.


The friend's youngest child is no longer really a child. She's 17 now. Actually, she'll be 18 at the end of the summer.

The thing about 18 is that it's a very special birthday. Deserving of a party and wonderful, thoughtful gifts.

I wonder if she'd like a new hamster?

                                                     *



D
ear reader,

Hello from my corner of Dublin! I'd be delighted if you'd 
SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.
   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. See sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.

Monday, 1 May 2017

HAPPINESS IS...



                                      Happiness is....whatever you want.



GRAND statement of the day: we are obsessed with happiness.


Obviously, we are obsessed with lots of stuff. Climate change, karma, tidiness, relationships (specifically, 'relationship goals' according to the experts), animals, politics, religion...the list could fill this column.


Let's not do that. 


It's just that I've read a lot about happiness recently. There's a lot of it around. Not happiness per se. Although there could be a lot of that around too.

But there's a lot of talk about it. Articles, slogans, memes...witty one-liners. It's been trending on social media. Right along with clever-things-your-cat-can-do and climate change.


Start asking what we can do, to be happy today

They're all difficult concepts. Well, maybe not the clever cats thing - although have you seen that stuff, and are you suspicious that it might be photo-shopped? - but definitely happiness and climate change. 


There are, for example, the world's happiest countries. I can't remember exactly which ones they are. One or more of the Scandinavian countries are in there. Switzerland made the list. I can't recall the others.

They all have something in common. It might be extended, paid holidays, or free childcare, or equal rights for women. You'd think I'd remember something as important as that. That I wouldn't be quite so vague about the subject.


It's not that I'm dismissive of it. Far from it. It's just that as I flick through these particular posts on Facebook or Twitter, they tend to blur a bit.

Little cartoon child and the catchphrase: Happiness is...

And even if all the conditions are perfect for a happy life, surely it has to come down to the individual. I know lots of people who are always happy. At least, they always seem happy. And I know others who never seem to be happy.

One of the current theories about happiness is that we don't need self help books or therapy sessions, or anything very complicated, at all.

Apparently we just need to need to lower our expectations. There's a shocker!

Or maybe it is shocking. Maybe we've forgotten that is the secret. If there is a secret at all.

Should we stop asking ourselves what we need to make ourselves happy?
And start asking what we can do, to be happy today?

I remember those little cartoon figures from my childhood. You know the ones: little cartoon child, and the catchphrase: Happiness is...

Is what, though? But that's the beauty. It's whatever you want.
- A walk on the beach.
- A coffee with friends.
- A smile from a stranger.
- A hug.

Maybe happiness as an abstract concept, is too difficult to grasp...too difficult to achieve. Maybe we simply need to concentrate on the small stuff. The ordinary things.

So, from me to you: I hope you do something that makes you happy today.
And tomorrow.
And the day after...

                                                         *

Dear reader,

Big welcome from Dublin. 
Please SHARE this column via the sharing buttons below.

Why not become a FOLLOWER of this blog? When I get 50 followers, I'll draw out all the names from a hat, and gift an e-copy of my book, through Amazon, to 3 winners. Or you can nominate a friend to receive it instead.  


If you'd like to get THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE FREE via email every fortnight, go to the Follow by Email box at the top right of the page.

   1. NEVER MISS my fun, fortnightly personal column + updates/guest author posts!
   2. Your email address will NEVER be shared or misused.
No spamming - I promise.

Check out the witty Irish romantic comedy, Going Against Type. Sample chapters/buy links @ Tirgearr Publishing

Have a lovely week, 
Hugs & xx
Sharon.