When I was still connected to my previous company, they issued a Globe postpaid cellphone to me. Voice and data communication were the least of my worries because I also have my Smart postpaid and wifi connection at home. Looking back to the days when technology was not as complicated as we have now, I was ten years old when we had a telephone.
In my previous blog post, I wrote a bit about Ms. Anita Hipolito, the principal in my grade school. For some strange reasons, I found myself in the company of Almalou going towards the principal’s office. She asked permission from Ms. Hipolito if we could use the phone, and the latter allowed us. I heard her talking with her mother that we needed to bring clay the next day for our Art subject. This gave me an idea to call up my mother at work to tell her about the assignment. Then, I realized that I didn’t know how to dial her office phone number! Hahaha! Almalou seemed puzzled why I wasn’t talking so she asked if everything was okay. Out of embarrassment, I told her that my mother’s office phone was busy. We thanked Ms. Hipolito and continued with our recess.
Months after that, we had our first telephone. It was an ogre yellow and white phone with the receiver on the left side. Our number was 7-3X-XX; those were the days of the 5-digit PLDT number in our province. A telephone in the 80s was a luxury, and true enough, it left a dent in our monthly budget. The challenging part was, our party line was always busy using the phone because they were a commercial establishment. When I learned how to dial a telephone, I became addicted to making calls; serious or prank. It was in the mid-90s when PLDT introduced the caller ID phones in our province. Pranksters had the time of their lives before that.
If I remember it right, dial 109 was meant for domestic operator-assisted calls while it was dial 108 for international-assisted calls. It was in 1992 when I had to tell my Tita Jocy about my great-grandmother’s demise. She was then living in Makati with her family.
“Hello, Operator, I would like to place a long-distance call to Mrs. Jocelyn C. Her number is XXXXXXX,” I said to the operator.
I could hear the other end of the line ringing, the operator successfully connected me to Aunt Jocy’s number; it was up to her if she would accept my call.
“O, Iris, what happened?” it was Tita Jocy.
I told her about the bad news and the next thing I remember was seeing her at the wake.
When Ate Gina’s husband passed away, I was the same bearer of bad news to Tita Jocy.
There were good times, too like talking endlessly with Shellah (my friend since childhood) over the phone. I was a late-bloomer in terms of love so nothing came out of my Friday night calls with some callers. I was just in the process of enjoying my life as a teenager by getting to know more people.
My first relationship was between the expiration of the old technology (analog phones) to the introduction of the new technology (digital/texts). While the world was busy preparing for Y2K (year 2000), we were worried if it was the end of the world! (Don’t laugh, we didn’t realize that Kiribati and Australia were already celebrating their New Year at the time we were so worried about it).
11:59 PM, the phone rang and a familiar voice greeted me.
“We have 60 seconds left. If the world ends after this, I would like you to know how much I love you,” he said.
Of course, the Y2K bug did not happen but the relationship ended five months later. It was May 2000 when I bought my first cellphone. When everybody in the family had our owns cellphones, we decided to terminate the landline contract to save on phone bills.
Trivia, my phone’s ringtone today sounds like a ringing analog phone. I miss the old times but I am happy with the present.