I have a phone. I do. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. It’s actually a hand-me-down from my mom. I’ve long forgotten its exact model name but it is definitely not a Blackberry, a Samsung Galaxy nor an iPhone, those smart and sexy phones that my friends carry with them and that fit entirely on their whole palms and do everything. My phone can’t do everything. I can’t take a picture with it. I can’t store and play songs with it, much less record my own voice. I can’t open my email, Facebook and Twitter accounts from it. I can’t cook rice with it. It can only send and receive text messages and calls. And, at 5:30 in the morning, ring like an alarm clock. It also has major battery issues: The battery won’t fit anymore in the slot at the back and keeps falling off, so I have to insert a small piece of wadded-up paper to hold the battery in place. I know, it is in a bad– no, terrible — shape. The back cover keeps falling off as well, so I have taken to bolting it to the whole phone with a rubber band. I actually have coined a name for it: the stupidphone. Of course, I dare not say it in its presence lest it comes alive and hurls itself on my face.
Like a mother with an ugly baby, I have come to appreciate my stupidphone in spite of what it is and because of what it is. I brandish it in public, taking pride in it as a rare and ancient tool of communication, like the ram’s horn used by tribal communities in the olden times to signal the coming of invaders. That’s one reason. I’ve listed here the rest:
1. It is cheap.Very cheap. I don’t have to pay a telecom 3000 pesos a month and a phone seller 1000 pesos a month for two years for the handset. I only pay at most P30 for the prepaid cellphone load which lasts for as long as a couple of weeks.
2. It keeps vanity at bay. It keeps me from the compulsion to take a picture of the latest four pieces of kwek-kwek I ate, skewered on a stick, the cup of taho I drank this morning, my pimple, myself in a planking position, my face in my cutest pout, and post them on Facebook. Come to think of it, it also saves me from committing a social faux pas – just imagine how my Starbucks-drinking friends would react if they know I’m drinking the lowly taho.
3. It is safe. I don’t have to worry about punctured eardrums and swollen thumbs and knuckles.
4. It gives me peace of mind. I’m spared from the tweet war between a celebrity cosmetic surgeon and her lover.
5. It frees both of my hands. While riding a train, I need to firmly hold a book as big as Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat or Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way.