‘Keypad Active’

It’s been over a month since I lost the cellphone inside a cab.  I don’t really remember how it happened.  One minute it was in my pocket; the next, it was gone.  I can only assume it slipped out during the short trip from the bus terminal to my house.

I didn’t worry over it.  My only concern was that it wasn’t mine to lose.  My sister had lent it to me a year ago so I would look “suited” to my new job in a US organization.  She even had me buy a new case for it, since pink didn’t look “suitable” enough.  I was just happy to have a phone that worked.  While I loved my six-year old phone, its screen kept dying out.  I had to swing it in every direction so I could read my messages.

Reluctantly, I stuffed the old thing deep into a wooden drawer, where it has lain silently for over a year along with trinkets and other ornaments that I have forgotten to use.

Until today.  I dug up the old phone from where it hibernated, snatched its outdated charger from the same hole, and plugged it in.  I pushed the power button that had already undergone repair in the past, and whola! The screen came to life.  There was even a message for me:  “Ipasok ang SIM card (Put the SIM card in) .”  I had forgotten that my phone’s language setting was in Tagalog.  Cool.

I knew that SIM cards are affordable now.  I just had no idea how cheap they have become.

P45, that’s how much they are from that card kiosk just a few steps away from my place.  Over 10 years ago, I bought my first SIM card for six times that amount inside a mall.  They were not available anywhere else.

Excited to see if my old phone still worked, I quickly inserted the SIM card inside the back panel, battled with the casing, and pressed the power button again.  There was another message, “Code ng Seguridad (Security Code)”, above a formidable-looking rectangular box.

I typed in four digits, but the screen blinked red:  “Maling code (Wrong code).  Stop!”  I clicked on more combinations, but the screen kept screaming stop.  So I did.  I had no idea what number I had used to lock my phone against possible intruders…or me.

Good thing I found a website that dishes out the master code, the one code to rule them all.  Good thing my phone was an old Nokia model, otherwise the code wouldn’t have worked.

I keyed in the master code.  Whola! My phone was up and running again, asking for the petsa (date) and oras (time).  The screen seemed to be working perfectly.

Over a hundred messages were in the inbox.  I thought shortly if I should go over each one to see if any was still important.  But I decided to delete all of them.  They were important a year ago.  I wasn’t about to delve into the past any further.

Now that I have something to connect me with the rest of the world again, I find myself hesitant to let people know.  I have managed without a phone, and I feel unwilling to give up this quiet interlude devoid of that classic beep-beep calling on me to check a message or answer a call.

I was even able to travel without a cellphone.  The people I care about knew I was still alive through one or two text messages sent from the mobile phones of my travel buddies.  I got  along pretty well, except when I was texting through a QWERTY phone.  That blasted miniscule keypad made it seem like I couldn’t spell.

But I probably have to let people know soon.  My phone is out of hibernation.  Maybe it’s time I do that, too.


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