I was walking down the road and the woman next to me -- mid-20s, standard chav attire of ill-fitting tracksuit pants and a T-shirt combined with a Croydon facelift -- was screaming obscenities into her mobile phone. This is considered normal in Digital Britain, so no-one paid attention. And nor did I. Until she started screaming "I am not f**cking paranoid" into the handset. A few seconds later, "NO, NO, NO, I'm not f**cking paranoid". I started to wonder if there was anyone else on the call. Remember that magnificent, and I do mean magnificent, book "The Airloom Gang""? Paranoid schizophrenics think they're hearing voices and they will project on to whatever new and slightly mysterious technology they can. Three hundred years ago that woman would have been screaming obscenities at the fairies at the bottom of her garden, now she is screaming into a mobile handset.
Since we're no longer institutionalising such people, and since there's only a limited number of reality TV programmes to put them on, we ought to have a proper debate about what to do with them. When the woman started screaming, I was slightly afraid. For all i know, she might have had a knife or something. It doesn't seem right.
[posted with ecto]