May 26, 2007

Out-of-fashion Phone

“This is your cellphone?” J asked incredulously. “But Ate, it’s so out of fashion.” The way he said it, I could just as well have committed the gravest fashion faux pas. Like wearing plaid with paisley. Or checks with stripes.

Better an old, trusty cellphone than a trendy gadget that almost always has no load, I thought to myself as J sauntered off to yet one of his of-the-moment pursuits,fingers happily keying in on his latest Motorola. And this is the same person who asked for a five-peso load just minutes ago!

You have to truly give it to J and his kind for thinking that the world judges them by their cellphones. They mark the passage of the seasons with uploads and trade-ins, with textmates and multiple SIM cards. In the in-between times when they are short of cash, their phones get temporary repose in Lhuillier or Tambunting or Ana Aspe.

I have my reasons for holding on to my old Nokia. For one, it has Kurt Perez on the display. (This is a marker of sorts of the heady, breezy days when I was pregnant with Gianna and I was just so gaga over Kurt and Starstruck Kids.) Besides I don’t like models that practically scream to be stolen.

In the not-too-distant past when the 3310 was the biggest thing, Swiper the Fox made off with mine. I never thought that a single gadget would change my life, but the blasted phone did. Initially, anyway. For a moment, I thought I had lost all traces of “me”. As if a giant hand pushed the erase button and left me friendless and totally empty. Precious, irreplaceable numbers were in there, my best friend’s especially, who had just moved to the States. It took a while for me to re-establish ties: I had just moved back home then, and most of the numbers on my book were those of friends from Manila and beyond.

And this is why I don’t get crazy shopping for the latest, the sleekest and the most compact. It’s like a take on the old friends, old shoes analogy: In this case, old phones, like old shoes and old friends, are the most comfortable. And harder to swipe.

So yes J, this is my cellphone, and unless it dies out on me, or it conveniently disappears, I am sticking to it. In fashion or out.

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