Middle-aged guy walking down the street, his eyes are remote and downcast and he is mumbling to himself. I appraise the distance between us – Is this nutcase dangerous? But his clothes are decent, if unseasonably warm, hair had been combed at some point today. Is he talking on the phone?
He passes me and I see a shiny blinky gadget around his ear. Is it at all surprising that a hearing aid, a symbol of old age and infirmity, is made so tiny as to fit inside the ear canal, its beige plastic blending with the skin tones? Meanwhile, the Bluetooth* headset is black with silver accents and a blue light, a modern toy of the well-connected**.
* Bluetooth radio technology was named by its inventor Ericsson of Sweden after Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, 10th century King, who united and christened Denmark and Norway. Don’t know what happened to his teeth.
**For my nerd friends concerned with radio wave power levels – Bluetooth operational transmit power is 1-2mW, which is perhaps 2-3% of cell phone’s typical output. But few people are walking around for hours on end with a cell phone strapped to their head.