As some kind of perverse justice, her boots teetered beneath her as she twirled out of the way of a rushing pair of suits barging out of the restaurant barking into their mobile phones rather than looking outfor straywomen on the pavement. Not wanting to push her luck, she slipped inside the glass doors and patted the criss-cross of bobby pinsholding back her too-long fringe to make sure they were still in place and not dangling from theend of her hair like some odd mobile.‘Do you have a reservation?’ the skinny, bald maître d’ in head-to-toe black asked.‘I’m Chelsea London,’ she said, leaning back slightly to make sure he wouldn’t get a waft of themothballscent of her recently de-cupboarded fancy clothes. ‘Meeting Kensington Hurley. She’s alwaysmadly early.I’d be happy to sneak through and find her myself—’‘Not necessary.’ He gave her a cool smile.Phoney schmuck, she thought as she gave him a weak smile in return.He ran a bony finger down the pale pink diary page and nodded. Then said, ‘Your phone, please.’‘Excuse me, my what?’ said Chelsea.‘Your…mobile…phone,’ he repeated, more slowly this time. ‘They are a nuisance to other customers thus wedon’t allow them in the restaurant. You would have been told at the time of reservation.’‘My sister chose this place,’ she explained through gritted teeth.‘Nevertheless, you need to check it into the cloakroom.’She bit her lip while she made up her mind about what to do. Her whole life was in her phone.Her address book, her appointments calendar, her grocery list, her emails, the profit and loss statements totake to the bank later that morning now that she’d finally made an appointment with a loan officer to seeaboutexpanding Pride & Groom, her pet-grooming business, from one salon to three. He might as wellhave askedfor her future firstborn child for all it meant to her.She sank her hand into her oversized handbag and held it tight as she asked, ‘What if I don’thave a phone?’He kept his hand outstretched, palm up.‘Okay, fine,’ she said, doing a quick, obsessive-compulsive message check before handing itover. ‘Butcouldn’t you just ask everyone to turn their phone to silent? And confiscate those who don’tcomply?’‘This isn’t high school, Ms London. We believe mobile phones are antisocial. And haven’t youcome heretoday to be social?’High school is for ever, she thought. Those in new uniforms compared with those in hand-me-downs, all livingout the failures or successes of their parents like some great evolutionary joke.