It happened to me.
After eight agonizing months of disciplined saving, I finally had enough money to buy myself a new mobile phone. The people who gave birth to me were not in support of me buying a phone worth more than the entire sum of my fees in the university and I could not convince them otherwise, so it had been only ‘le boo’ by my side. My previous phone had been a Nokia C3 and I had bragged to everyone that cared to listen that I, Teleola Onifade, the lethally sanguine chic from the Baptist denomination where the word of God is followed to the letter, would NOT use a Blackberry, except the Holy Spirit whispered it into my mortal ears. I would take a gigantic leap to a touch-screen phone.
Now, sitting in my room after a hectic day at School of Hygiene, Eleyele, Ibadan, marking scripts that made absolutely no sense, I raised my face to the ceiling of my room, imagining I was looking up to the heavens, and said a silent prayer of thanks. God had truly been faithful and all the people who had doubted me had been silenced. Glory, Hallelujah. I had rushed home with my stomach grumbling and found that Tosin, the lady I stayed with, had made Amala for lunch. My bank account was yet to recover, so I couldn’t eat out for a while. It was not really a problem though because Amala IS the truth that was sent to set all stomachs free and I enjoyed this freedom almost five times every week, courtesy of Tosin’s equal love and the ubiquitous nature of yam flour in Oyo state. I settled down with my food and a Stephen King novel and before long, I was happily sweating. Everything in the plate was hot; Amala, stew, okra and the meat. I ate with my right hand, which I was sure was suffering third degree burns, and held the novel with my left, my phone, my pride and joy, was by my side, I was in paradise. Then my new phone rang. I smiled the way I always smiled whenever the phone rang. My phone. It was ‘le boo’. I dropped the novel and answered.
“Hey” I beamed happily into the mouthpiece.
“Hi. I can almost see you smiling. Na wa o. You are still in the honeymoon period with this your phone. I give you three months. You will start throwing it …….”
“Lailai! God forbid!” I interrupted. “I will never throw my pride and joy upon any surface, no matter how soft.”
He had laughed and said that if someone else heard me talking, they would think I was talking about a child. We talked about how I was beginning to spend too much money on novels and how to protect my complexion from the sun while I finished my food. After about twenty minutes, we said our goodbyes and he promised to call later. As I removed the phone from my ears, the screen remained dark and that was when the confusion started. Let me explain something to you first.
You see, the phone was a Samsung Galaxy SII and it has this feature called ‘proximity sensor’ which can be put on or off. When it is on and a call is being made and the phone is on the ear, the screen goes off to ensure that the touching of the screen by the ear does not mistakenly tap the ‘end call’, or ‘mute’, or ‘speaker’, or any other function. When the user removes the phone from the ear, the screen comes alive again. The boo had explained this to me during my one hour tutorial of how the phone worked because I am not so much of a technology person. I am sanguine as I have said, not choleric. So, you can imagine my confusion when the screen remained dark because my proximity sensor was on and my ear was nowhere near the phone.
I cleaned the screen, pressed the ‘menu’ button so it could come on and checked the setting. Nothing seemed to be wrong. I was not comfortable using my left hand so I took my plate to the kitchen, washed and cleaned my hands, then returned to my phone with a deep frown already setting on my forehead. I turned off the phone and turned it on and then called my mother to test it. After two minutes, the call ended and I removed the phone from my ear. The screen remained dark till I pressed the menu button. My lacrimal glands sensed distress and were on standby for action. Don’t panic I thought to myself. Breathe. The phone is not a fake and it has not spoilt. Breathe. I fiddled with the phone for a while and decided to call my tutor.
After I explained what had happened, he started with the questions.
“Have you checked the settings?”
“Have you put off the phone and put it on again?”
“Did you remove the battery when you put it off?”
“Did the phone fall?”
“Did water touch it?”
“Never. I don’t even answer calls when I am sweating!”
“Is it hanging?”
“Baby, I don’t know again o. But the phone is not bad now. Just the proximity …..”
“That is how it starts! One thing will spoil then another thing will spoil! Then it will fall apart! Then I will be phoneless!”
By now I was screaming. My enemies had struck. My eyes were full. Was I never to advance in life? Jesus help me. After everything I have been through. Why me? I have been good. This is punishment for what sin?
“Sorry. Calm down now. Don’t shout at me. I am trying to help you.”
“My phone, baby. My pride and joy. It has spoilt. Where will I start from?” I said as the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. I should have listened to my parents. They did not give me the blessings to purchase this phone. This is the end of a disobedient child. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Ephesians chapter six verse one. My chin sank to my chest and I began mourning. Matthew chapter five verse four. I believed the word of God, but who would comfort me?
“Tele, don’t cry now. Okay. Give me five minutes, let me think of something. Pick when I call you, okay?”
“Okay.” I sniffed.
“Don’t worry; your phone will be alright. I will fix it. I promise.”
“Okay.” I cleaned my eyes. My man never broke his promises to me. The word of God never lies. The masculine trinity in my life was threatened because I couldn’t tell my father about it, but God is my father too and would cover me there. These facts strengthened me as I blew my nose on my wrapper. I will be comforted.
As he was about to end the call, he hesitated.
“You know where the sensor is in front of the phone. On the top left. It looks like a tiny camera. Check if there is anything on it. I’ll hold on.”
I removed the phone from my ear and looked very closely.
A very tiny glob of Amala was sitting quietly on the sensor.
- Janus and I both read Stephen King.
- Everything I have said has been the truth and nothing but the truth. Ask le boo.
- Ladies, add ‘knowledge of phone mechanics’ to your check list when looking for a man. Thank me later.
- Do not answer calls when eating Amala or any ‘swallow’.
- Take all your problems to God in prayer with a clean heart and you will receive answers.
- I think I am beginning to talk off-point.