The Philippine Star

What will they think of next?

- raz­zle-Daza WITH PAT-P PLDT-Philippine LDT · mobile phone · Finland · Alexander Graham Bell · Motorola · Nokia · Philippines · iPhone · Apple Inc

A few months ago, I was on my mo­bile phone with a male friend. Af­ter a few min­utes, the con­ver­sa­tion got very heated and I be­came so up­set that I de­cided to end the call. I didn’t want to say any­thing nasty that I’d re­gret later.

Had that hap­pened four decades ago, be­fore cel­lu­lar phones ex­isted, I would prob­a­bly have banged the ro­tary tele­phone re­peat­edly un­til his ears bled! I re­mem­ber how sturdy those black ro­tary tele­phones were. You could bang them, drop them, even throw them at a wall and they’d still be work­ing.

I had a love af­fair with the tele­phone. As a teenager, I re­mem­ber spend­ing hours and hours talk­ing to boyfriends or class­mates about the most mun­dane and inane things imag­in­able. I had so much fun mak­ing tele­babad. I looked for­ward to week­ends when I could use the phone prac­ti­cally non-stop un­less the party line (there was a short­age of phone lines back then so sub­scribers had to share a line) man­aged to use it first.

On one oc­ca­sion, I re­mem­ber my dad sur­pris­ing me by in­stalling two tele­phone ex­ten­sions in my room. We had two tele­phone num­bers back then: 975938 was the one in my par­ents’ room with the party line, while 982244 was my

lolo’s num­ber. He was a mem­ber of PLDT’s board of di­rec­tors back then and one of his perks was a phone that didn’t have a party line. You can imag­ine how happy I was with two tele­phones within easy reach in my room. Some­times, I even used both phones at the same time! I could even have three-party calls if the con­ver­sa­tions got ex­tra juicy. There were times I’d be on the phone un­til the wee hours of the morn­ing, and I’d put a pil­low over my head to muf­fle the sound so that my mom and dad wouldn’t hear that I was still awake. There were also times when I would fall asleep in the mid­dle of phone con­ver­sa­tions af­ter mid­night.

These days, peo­ple hardly use their tele­phones be­cause the cel­lu­lar phone is eas­ier to use and is, of course, more mo­bile. If the land­line wasn’t re­quired for us to have wi-fi at home, I would have prob­a­bly un­sub­scribed to PLDT years ago. Come to think of it, there are only two peo­ple who call me on my land­line at home: My mom and Tita Dolor Gue­varra!

The tele­phone has truly en­dured and evolved. Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell in­vented it in 1876 be­cause he was in­ter­ested in the sci­ence of sound due to the fact that both his mother and wife were deaf. By 1983, Mo­torola had re­leased its first com­mer­cial mo­bile phone even though the com­pany had al­ready in­vented it in 1973. In the early ‘90s, Nokia was the pre­ferred brand here in the Philip­pines for call­ing and tex­ting. But by 2007, the first iPhone was re­leased by Ap­ple, mark­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the smart­phone. This smart­phone al­lowed you to not only call and text, but also take pho­tos and videos, send and re­ceive e-mails, and help you avoid traf­fic. Heck, you could even have a video call!

What will they think of next? I’ll bet that in a few years, we will be able to smell and even touch the per­son we are speak­ing to at the other end of the line.

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