This month, my first ever (Nokia) phone is six years and five months old.
No, I am not aiming at a Guinness World record for phone use. Plus, it went into retirement a year and two months ago; when I had used every kobo spent on it. And, I know you may want to call me names – a quick one is ‘Ijebu man’, if you like. (If one does not like to waste money, one is soon conferred with honorary Ijebu citizenship; an idea the true citizens find rather insulting.)
“Who would use a phone for more than five years?” you ask. As you can see in the original image in this post, at a point I had to ‘plaster’ the poor thing with cellotape. Maybe I should have gotten a Blackberry or an iPhone or something trendier. Maybe I was just a chronic iJebu man, you know? But, I found it very useful in scoring songs for the choir because the tones on the keypads run the major scale on Key C. That way, I could find out the key on which any song was being played or sung on the go and in the absence of a keyboard/piano.
The phone served me diligently until it started complaining bitterly last year. It fell to the floor many times, only for me to say, “Thank God, It’s Nokia!” I eventually stopped using the in-built radio function to listen to Dan Foster’s Sunday morning praise jam on Cool FM (at the time) when the earpiece got bad in 2007. I never changed the casing, though I replaced the battery three times. It must have seen too many intimidating brands of phone in a lifetime – Nokia E70, N97, Blackberry Bold, Curve and Touch, and zillions more.
By the way, I remember Oga Sunday, who was my tailor, up until a dozen years ago. Whenever he sewed my clothes, he always made something bigger – what the Yoruba people call ‘bambe’ [a contraction of the phrase ‘ba ni be’ which literarily means ‘meet it there (later)’].
The common belief was that when you grew bigger and taller over the next year(s), you would still be comfortable wearing them. Not to even think I never really had those growth spurts! You should have seen some of those native wears; how they looked like parachutes on me sometimes. Many times! In fact, when my new tailor in the university cut some ‘slim-fit’ native attire for me several years later, I could feel the big difference. Stolen glances and outright commendations were my reward, in addition to a renewed sense of confidence in my fashion. Of course, you don’t want to wear Ankara leggings, but less is often more, you know?
The problem people seem to have with the textbook ‘Ijebu man’ is that after all his crazy bargains in the market and all the numerous exercises in thrift, he soon throws a big party in his village or in front of his (rented) Lagos house, frittering away his life savings.
I love good quality and can go to any length to get good stuff, but at what point do we cross from modesty to over-indulgence? Why would you buy a sleek phone, only to end up utilizing just about 20% of its complete functionalities? Have you met adults who buy BB they can’t even type on, or are you one of them? Where do you draw the line between being trendy and being wasteful? How would you regard the septuagenarian in my local church who still drives her 1980’s Volkswagen Beetle around, even though she can afford, at least, a Pajero.
Now that my Nokia 2300 is sitting in my ‘museum’, I still use a Nokia phone (please, don’t ask me which model!). As much as I now realise the importance of a BB and an iPhone, I think I’m still a Nokia loyalist. What about you? Which device have you used the longest? Do you change your phones like a baby’s nappies or milk them of every penny spent before discarding it? What on earth could make you use a phone for more than five ‘blessed’ years? Or, maybe you’re simply not an iJebu material like ‘some people’. Ngwanu, tell me something.
P.S: I doubt if I really want to use a phone for that long any more, though.
Photo credit: Jide Odukoya Photography
Gbenga Awomodu is an Editorial Assistant at Bainstone Ltd./BellaNaija.com. When he is not reading or writing, Gbenga is listening to good music or playing the piano. He believes in the inspirational power of words and pictures, which he explores in helping to make the world a better place. He blogs at Gbenga’s Notebook (www.gbengaawomodu.com).