Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Can you live without it?
An article in today's paper discusses the results of an 8-country survey concerning mobile phone use, and it seems UAE residents are attached to their cell phones by the hip. Out of the 8 countries surveyed (Britain, Spain, South Africa, Russia, Italy, Germany and France), UAE residents claimed they would have the most trouble living without their phone, and their bills were the highest with an average of Dhs 380 per month (more than $100 Canadian).
I manage to only pay around 60 Dhs per month (less than $20 Canadian) thankfully. I call everyone from a land line, and only use my cell phone for emergencies and text messaging. I also buy those prepaid cards which makes me spend less time on my phone cause I'm always afraid of running out of credit.
I must admit that when I first moved back here, I was suprised at how indispensable cell phones are. People carry them around everywhere! My first "culture shock" moment here was when I attended a meeting with clients, and phones were ringing here and there...people send text messages during meetings and even take calls (they whisper but they still take the call). This was quite shocking to me, coming from a place where no one takes their phone into a meeting, and where cell phones are only for personal use.
My clients all have my cell phone number meaning I can almost never avoid talking to them by pretending I am not at my desk. I actually get upset at the fact that my clients sometimes call my cell phone before calling my land line...if I am not at my desk it means that I am probably busy doing something else somewhere else! What's also annoying is when clients call during lunchtime...arghhhhhh...please let me eat in peace! I usually do not answer when I take my one-hour break, unless I am expecting an answer to something important.
If someone does not have a cell phone in this country, then they are dubbed as just plain weird. After 7 months in this country, even I was shocked by the fact that this guy at work does not have a cell phone!
In Montreal, cell phone use is more scarce...I did not even have a cell phone there for many years. People there do not rely on their phones as much. I guess Canadians use their phones less because a phone owner has to pay for the call whether he/she is the caller or the receiver of the call, which is not the case here, where only outgoing calls are charged.
All this to say, after a few months here, I no longer find it shocking to have people take calls during meetings (I am guilty of doing this once in a while), I no longer get bothered by all those annoying ringtones, and I no longer find it weird to give my cell phone number to everyone I meet. Now if that's not adaptation, then I don't know what is!