Textory: 10 years of subjugation to the mobile phone industry

      “A new world is not made simply by trying to forget the old. A new world is made with a new spirit, with new values. Our world may have begun that way, but today it is caricature. Our world is a world of things. What we dread most, in the face of the impending debacle, is that we shall be obliged to give up our gewgaws, our gadgets, all the little comforts that have made us so uncomfortable. We are not peaceful souls; we are smug, timid, queasy and quaky.”  Henry Miller quotes (American Author and Writer, 1891-1980)

I used a cellular phone for the first time in 1996, 10 years ago. The unit was not mine, but a good friend lent it to me as his businessman-turned-politician father bought him a new one. It was a call-only phone. Of course, that ‘s why Kenneth was giving it up. By conscience, I also did not use it for long. There was no need to at the time. (Who will I call?). I know for one Kenneth just lent it so if in case, he loses his key to our room or comes beyond the boarding house’s curfew.  Besides, that was a line subscriber’s phone.    

I bought my first mobile phone in 1997. I was a working student by then at the IVPD, an NGO that developed training programs for both blue and white collar workers in Western Visayas.  My work as an administrative assistant required some degree of mobility and though I was not required, I obliged to save and bought a Bosch 808 cellular phone unit.

I loved that model. By that time, Nokia was only known for its classic 5110 unit (at least to young workers like me in a middle-size city like Iloilo). The Bosch 808 was not as expensive as the Nokia phone (P7,999 by then) but it was also preferred over the other cheaper  units from Phillips, Siemens and Ericson. 

That was my phone until 2001 when I lost it to a bag-slashing celphone thief in Iloilo. In 2001, I inherited a humble old Motorola phone from my sister. In 2002, I  finally owned a Nokia 5110 from my salary. I upgraded it to a 3210 model in 2003 courtesy of an officemate who considered the 5110 for vintage collection.  Later that year, I loaned a Nokia 3310 model, which I used until March 2005.

In April 2005, my hardworking and more financially blessed younger sister offered to lend me her extra Nokia 3510i phone. Of course, I didn’t have a plan to return it (Me is bad). It was the best phone I had so far. 

It had a colored display and tones that could pass off as a poly-tonic model (but was not). It was, at least for me, above all the cheap phones Nokia introduced.

At that time, I began to be conscious about MMS (Multi-media Messaging System). MMS probably had been there for long but I was so engrossed and satisfied (by no choice, hooked) with my measly SMS phone.

In exchange, I gave up my 3310 to another sister who gladly accepted it as her first mobile phone.

I was happiest with the 3510i. It  got a hippy, rugged but savvy look. It also got new tones different from the regular models. It was, I thought, my best shot in a mobile phone market that is flooded with new and expensive models every now and then.

But it was taken from me in April 2006. I lost it to a jeepney seatmate who probably needed that gadget more than I did. (But it brought me back to my sister, who in the first place just lent it to me.)

I lost all data to connect with people (see, using that line is a manifestation of the mobile industry’s influence). I lost all the phone numbers, worthwhile inbox and outbox messages, and to a certain extent some functionality. Suddenly people thought I don’t exist anymore (because my number “cannot be reached”). Some others thought I have betrayed them for not sending an FYI of my supposed shift to another number. Others thought I fled to God knows where. It was complicated.

I hated that feeling. I detested that situation. I abhorred that. 

It was the first time I felt I needed a respite from being  hooked to the mobile phone industry. Of course, that’s unfair. I also benefitted from this hookery.

But in no time I had that acceptance, peace of mine, and sense of order. There is life being estranged from a mobile phone line. There is a need to put dominion over God-given possessions. (Friends call it sour-graping, but believe me, I’m a changed man.)

I realized I need to put a balance between carrying so much data with me (as in what a mobile phone could do) and the work I need to do.)

That is, yes I needed a phone and no I don’t need it to be a fit of my whims.

My editor, Carol, lent me her old 3210 phone and that fitted my conviction in the line above.  

On my birthday in May, I got my own phone. Guess what, it’s the cheapest so far in my 10 years of using mobile phones. The model? A close relative of the old cargo helicopters, perhaps, what’s that C130? My phone is a C117 (probably its a forerunner of the C130). Yes, its a Motorola phone.

But it’s a “great value” phone so far.  With no great expectations, I got all the functions intact. Also, if I lose it, probably it wouldn’t be much pain in the ass. 

Really, I still hope for the ultimate gadget –that device that I could use to fly high up my dreams and without making me a slave in the process. 

I’m no gizmo fanatic. Probably, I just want to make a hard life a bit easier.

(In memory of eight mobile phones that, probably, knew me more than anyone or anything else.)

About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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