Hello?

I got a new postpaid phone last April courtesy of my employer. This is not a reward or anything but it’s simply work-related. Like, if my boss needs me, I’m accessible. If the boss of another department needs me, I have no reason not to reply. The funny thing is, I’ve got an existing post-paid plan from another service provider and it’s more than enough for all my work-related obligations.

I was 10 when we had our first landline at home. It was a white push-button phone with royal blue accent. During those times, having a telephone was a luxury and some sort of a status symbol. My family was not affluent but my mother made sure that we got the best things that she could afford and having a phone was one of them.

That first phone with a 5-digit number (7-30-43) had a party-line and more often than not, the relationship with them was not cordial. When I turned 11, I had a brief telephone romance with a guy that was two and a half years older than me. My ever-protective father tapped a device wherein he could hear our conversation. Love affair ended before it even started. LOL!

Since Mama was a working mother, she made sure that she was always aware of what her two tweens were doing while she was away for work. The telephone was our main source of communication outside of home. It had a disadvantage, too because my parents, especially my father, expected us to tell them our whereabouts after school. The beauty of this set-up was, we were scared not to tell them about our after-school gimmicks because there was no reason not to let hem know. Ah, the children of yesteryears!

In college, I charged long distance calls to my parents. Every Sunday, Mama and I burned telephone lines by talking about anything under the sun for 60 minutes! My mother was a great listener and her voice was enough to assure me that everything would be okay in my college life. Later on, I used payphones to call my family in Bataan. My then boyfriend’s weekly telephone call during semestral breaks was something that I looked forward to.

Six years later, cellphones hit the market and there I was educating myself with my mother’s cellphone instead of getting a beauty rest for my college graduation! When I started working, I got my own cellphone and again, I found myself awake until early in the morning because I found it an amazing piece of technology! LOL!

A year later, you could buy a phone that was half the price of what it was a year earlier. As a result, more people were able to afford cellphones. As more and more cellphones were manufactured and sold, less and less real talk between two people happened. Like, instead of asking me how the day went, my then boyfriend would just send a template message.

Fast-forward to 2017: I have two phones but less real talk with the people that I love. Oh, how I miss my mother who would surely be eager and waiting for my every phone call.

It’s More Than a Phone

I am guilty of not being too careful of my late mother’s cellphone. I’ve been using her cellphone since she passed away last May 2, 2009. When I saw her new cellphone in 2008, I fell in love with it. It was a white Nokia 6120C, very slim and very light. It’s a smartphone, too. I tried to apply for a postpaid phone in Smart Wireless in Balanga but my application was denied. According to them, my record showed that my salary was not enough to meet the minimum salary requirements to avail of their postpaid promo. They were referring to my old ITR in 2006 wherein I had two ITR’s: one from my previous employer and the other one from my current employer. I told them that I could request for my 2007 ITR and I could provide my three latest payslips. They seemed unconvince so I did not pursue my application.

After my mother died, I became the owner of her cellphone. It was the cellphone that she used to call me and text me when she was alive. Her cellphone contained all her contacts who became my textmates after she died. I realize how blessed is she for having good friends around her. She was surrounded by several friends while I have yet to develop longlasting friendships from my current pool of friends.

When I woke up last Sunday (July 18) at around 12 midnight and saw that my cellphone was off, I had the instinct that the frequent droppings lead to its hardware damage. I couldn’t sleep that night; I felt so guilty for being too lax in taking care of it.

Monday afternoon, I brought it to a cellphone repair shop and after several attempts to reheat the components, the technician suggested to change the power IC. He was asking PhP1,500 for it. I knew that he was overcharging but I was willing to pay a high price for a phone that contained my mother’s contacts. And too bad, I didn’t save her contacts on my computer!

Tuesday afternoon, the technician texted that despite changing the power IC, the phone would not power on. My husband and I decided to bring it to his friend for a second attempt to revive the unit.

Jimmy could not promise to repair it but he said he would try his best. I was depressed but later on, was trying to accept that there’s a big possibility that it would never be repaired. I lost Mom’s contacts. I hope some of them will find a way to contact me through my existing number. After all, real friendship is supposed to be longlasting.