Friday, January 2, 2009

That Thing Called A Mobile Phone.

It was probably the 10th time I circled Bukit Bintang and passed by the Pavillion and J.W. Marriot. Again and again I frantically attempted to find a jazz bar called “No Black Tie” to see Jerome Kugan and Peter Brown perform. Then in a moment of divine inspiration, I decided to call the most outgoing lesbian I know. Yes, she will surely know the place, I thought. In fact, she had told me it was near Genesis Hotel. Unfortunately, even the Shell and Caltex stations I dropped down to asked for the location do not know where the hotel is, let alone a mysterious street called Mesui. I was already one hour late for the show.

I called my Miss-Outgoing-Lesbian-Sista three times. Not one time she answered. And as luck would slap me on the face I went out of credit. Another trip to the petrol station to get a reload was unsuccessful. Tired, frustrated and annoyed, I tried to make one turn to a street near Bukit Bintang and walla, I found the place! After enjoying the night out with Jerome and meeting notable people there such as Shanon Shah and Hafidz Baharom, I decided to call it a night. I fetched Jerome back to Bangsar and tried to call Miss-Outgoing-Lesbian-Sista once again. And again, no answer. She did not call back too.

In another situation, one day while looking for someone to ask about “pengkids”, my Miss-Wise-Lesbian-Sista was replying to an SMS I sent her, when I called her instead for a direct reply to a question. After chatting for awhile, our conversation was cut off. She then sent to me a full reply with her answer. I called her back and asked her why she still sent me the reply when she already answered me when we were chatting. She said, that it is the right thing to do to respond as a memorandum because I SMS-ed her earlier. Hmm.

The mobile phone was a luxury item back in the 80s, and only as recent as a decade plus ago, prices came down for both the phone and the packaged call plans. It became such a general item that kids are bringing it to school it seems. The mobile phone had become a necessity these days, as people are sinking into the comfort of talking while walking around, to looking for friends who are lost in the jungle called a shopping mall. It is an item of convenience and great for emergency use. The purpose of the mobile phone is for a person to call or answer anytime, at any place, in any circumstances even in bathrooms. And the past few years saw the mobile phone becoming a pocket camera, pocket Game Boy, pocket video recorder, pocket (etc). I myself enjoy games of Sudoku on my mobile.

So what made people now either lazy to return a call with a mobile phone, or get obsessed in replying? I for one have a weird habit with SMS-es. I would type the full 160 character spaces while adjusting to complete a one page SMS before sending. Why, you might ask. Because it will cost the same with a reply like “ok” so I want to get my character money’s worth. And I wish to make sure the other party gets to read the best reply I can send them. Unless I am really tired (or the page space is already full), I would always say “take care” or “thank you”. It is manners. It is also to express gratitude and fill up spaces.

And I will always answer calls and attend to SMS-es, or at the least call or SMS back. As a lonely person, a phone ringing means a lot to me especially from my dearest friends. And gosh, who knows if I am needed for something that warrants urgent response. Or someone calling to tell me I am not alone in this crummy world. Even a reply that takes almost a day to come means a lot. But I guess some Malaysians may be growing out of love with mobile phones. Of all the SMS-es I sent out during New Year’s eve, only a handful replied. One even replied only the next day. With that kind of response, I wonder who shall I call in a life or death situation, or when I have only one available call to make while being in police custody? One thing is for certain. I better make sure I get a full page SMS ready first.

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