My cell phone was black. Gray black, not charcoal, not deliberate, not sleek. It was practical. And small (but a little chubby on the sides). With rubber buttons, that vexed me when I texted, mixing up “where” with “there” as my fingers blended the 8 and 9. My fingers grappled to enhance their dexterity and learn the idiosyncratic charms of my old Nokia mobile – whom I will affectionately refer to as Norma.
The phone was given to me by a previous Kenyan AKFC fellow, described as nothing fancy, but able to do the trick. The trick, enabling me to communicate with family back home and new friends here in Nairobi. The phone may have been cheap but our relationship was not. Alas, the friendship with my phone was too brief, as three weeks into my stay in Nairobi, my dear little Norma, who suffered ridicule for her stocky appearance, was plucked from my purse in the middle of a packed nightclub in Westlands.
Oh, Norma, I tried to keep you safe! I put you in the very bottom of my tiny, little purse, which I hung in front of myself to try and ward off any potential threats! I walked around with my hand resting on the zipper, to guard you against unknown hands! But I failed you, my dear Norma… For I sat down, starting talking with my hands as I do, and the next time I looked at my lap, the inner lining of my purse stared back at me, and you, Norma, were nowhere to be found.
I hope you will find a happy home, and that there exists a charger (other than the one lying desolate in a drawer in my room) which will fuel your old soul and make. I know you have many good years of talking and texting in your solid build, and may your new keeper not be deterred by your lack of bells and whistles, but recognize a goodie in an oldie.
Thanks to mandatory SIM card registration, I did not lose my minutes or my number the day I lost Norma. She might not have worth much, monetarily, but she was a fine phone who served her purpose with grace and humility. Norma, you will be missed. Mr. Pickpocket, please be kind to her.