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Low tech

/ 11:48 PM June 29, 2011

What model is your phone? Mine is a Nokia 3530.

A few years back that announcement would have produced gasps from whomever I was talking to. That was the time when the Nokia 3210 were just starting to be outdated. But today phones already have “touch” features, meaning with just your fingertips or any pointed object touching the screen, the phone functions accordingly.

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I don’t know if I will ever change my phone. I have lost several already, and it can be frustrating to be reminded that you cannot take care of something as important as a phone. With this old phone, there’s not so much to be careful about since no pawnshop would accept it. (I can actually imagine the glare a pawnshop personnel would give me if I tried to pawn it, although that would be a thrill.)

One time, I lost this particular phone. I thought I would never get it back. I was so worried when I rang the number and I could hear my 3530 ringing in the middle of the night with nobody picking it up to answer. But after some time, my roommate answered the phone and told me a stranger had found it in a place I knew I had never been to. The person tried to call the contacts on my phone and finally got to her. I never got to see him but I was very thankful for his honesty. But sometimes I suspect that the reason he returned it was that he pitied me for holding to such phone until now.

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My sister also lost her phone two months ago (it runs in the family). But she cannot bring herself to bring my phone when she goes out with some friends. She would rather endure the hassle of trying to find her friends in case there is a change of plans than be caught using my phone.

Actually when I got my 3530, it wasn’t even brand new. I got it for P400, a price my father thought exorbitant. I had to plead with him to buy it for me because getting connected was very important. I just reminded myself that having such an old phone would be my penalty for losing too many phones. And I was confident that if I lost it, it would be promptly returned to me.

My phone has some very interesting features that not too many phones have. For one thing, it has a life of its own. Its battery runs low anytime it wants to, as if to tell me it wants to have a rest. It also has mood swings, and sometimes refuses to charge. It must have some magical properties since its battery looks bloated but is actually too thin to fit the casing. And its keypad looks swollen.

But do you know what? I like it. Even if it is not the latest model, it makes me feel secure. Because of its size, my phone will never get crushed by the pile of things I put in my bag. And despite the absence of high-tech features, I can still call and text on it.

It even has added features, courtesy of its previous owner. For instance, the alarm goes on from time to time with birthday reminders of people I do not know. It’s nice to know that the previous owner of the phone was sweet.

I also like it because it has big fonts and easy to understand instructions. Its alarm is so loud that it has become my favorite alarm clock. On my lucky days, it would even have a signal when I am inside the room.

Despite everything, it serves its real purpose, which is being a phone. It’s like somebody close to us – a parent, a friend, or a lover. Even if they may not be classy, rich, beautiful, sexy or intelligent like other people we know, they provide us security and they are there during our darkest moments. And we love the simplicity of our relationship with them because we can connect without too many complications. Some things that look nice do not have that kind of permanence. They can easily get lost to thieves or to time.

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Up until now, I would think twice before changing my phone. When I look at it and realize how low-tech it is, it makes me smile. I love it much like we love people who are not perfect and full of inexplicable moods. We keep them and want them in our lives because nobody else can give us as much security and assurance.

Micca Basco, 22, is a Development Communication senior at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.

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