The letters screamed out in red. This counter was exchanging old mobile phones. Just for a lark, I asked the guy how much my cell would fetch. He said he would have to check at the website.
I decided to get some other work done. When I returned I found a woman, quite shabby and unkempt, trying to sell her really old phone; she had it held together with a rubber band. And then she demanded aggressively of the salesman, “Show me that.”
That was mine. I hated the lascivious look she gave it. I asked him to return it to me. I had no intention of exchanging it, although I must admit there was also a strange feeling that, even if I were to, those were not the hands I would like to have them touched by. You might wonder: how does it matter? Do we go to the garbage bin to see who is picking on which discarded stuff from our waste? I don’t know. Phones are intimate. Hours spent with them like pillows for ears, like ears for our breath…
Mine is still sleek and nice. It is old but it hasn’t aged. There used to be hesitation with this touch-screen thing. Each time I touched it, everything would start working all at once; messages would pop up, alarm bells ring, ring tones toll and calls would be redialled.
The thing about touch-screens is to touch just the right bit, delicately. Like a fragile heart, it requires tender emotions.
“Madam exchange?” asked the salesman.
(Madam is not for exchange, I thought to myself, at his lack of pause for a verbal comma…but an interesting thought, nevertheless.)
“It isn’t old and I like it,” I said.
Anyway, I am not an exchange person. I find the idea behind swapping quite demeaning. “New for old” does not make the new appear newer. I like to wear out the stuff I own…yes, I can hear the voice-over say that it may include people too, and that voice-over may well be right.
I like to wear things out to show my love for them, my capacity for longevity of what we share. It usually applies to inanimate things that are robotic and work mechanically. People ought to be different. We must be capable of reinventing ourselves.
Words can be so devious. Ex-change.
- - -
From the past here...