I bought this phone, already discounted, the first year we were in England in the summer of 2001. This was before color monitors were widely used, before there were cameras, multimedia and video on mobiles, and there's not even a polyphonic ring tone let alone an MP3 player! Simply put, it's simple. I could place and receive calls and type out a simple text message.
Six years is the equivalent of a century in technology years and the very next year after this relic was purchased, we'd already moved on to nicer and more advanced mobiles as we did every year after that thanks to new mobile contracts with free new phones included:) This mobile was then destined for a dusty life the junk drawer, never to see the light of day again until we packed up our household for the return trip to Saudia. Before leaving, we gathered all of our mobiles acquired through the years and decided which mobile would go to which family member upon our return to Saudia with this particular mobile reserved for my technologically-challenged mother-in-law. Since we don't have the same deals on phones with new contracts as is available in England and the US, you have to pay for the full price of any new phone outright. This can hurt.
We came back from England bearing gifts of mobile technology for our kinfolk like some sort of Saudi Santa's. My mother-in-law, who can barely manage to dial her home phone and frequently has one of her kids do it for her, accepted her mobile with relief. All her friends had one and now she could be reached when her ride comes to pick her up from weddings and social gatherings. Her happiness lasted exactly two days. Upon going out to the next gathering and proudly displaying that she too now had a mobile like everyone else, the grim truth was revealed to her in a conversation such as this:
"That' a really old model", her friends told her.
"What ever do you mean?", my mother-in-law replies, having previously been blissfully ignorant of advances in mobile technology.
"Well, look at mine. Mine is in color, and I can take pictures, and I changed the color of it and hung these cute little dingly-dangly thingies off of it. Noooooobody carries around old ones like that anymore (said with a disdainful glance at the painfully unflashy old mobile). Have your son buy you a new one since he must be rolling in lots of money now that he's just finished his PhD two months ago."
Rejected and scorned by a woman who doesn't even know what the hell SMS is, this mobile was one again fated to a existence without purpose and a return to the junk drawer. There the phone languished until it came time for me to work in a university here. All of the students had to turn in their phones with cameras into the office and I wasn't allowed to take mine into lectures either for fear someone may take pictures of all these uncovered young ladies. In order to stay connected, I got out the only mobile still around without a camera in it. I grudgingly carried it around the university, constantly having to reassure people who poked fun at my unfashionable phone that it was only used inside the university...my cool phone's in my office.
Upon the death of my cool phone for which I mourn to this day, seven months later, I was forced to once again use the rejected mobile. Even it's name in Arabic is unattractive*, "Al-Aaneed" "العنيد" or stubborn/persistent, because apparently it's to stubborn to die. Every month there was something else that sucked up the salary, making it impossible to buy a new mobile.
Having a cool mobile is crucial here, and even the poorest are clamoring to have nice phones. The line was drawn when I noticed that domestic workers were coming into the country with nicer phones than what I was carrying! Even DesertFlower offered for me to use her phone when out shopping with me one day instead of face the embarrassment of being seen with me while I dialed my eye-sore of a mobile (I know she was just poking fun at me:). Once, upon finishing a nice conversation with one lady doctor in a hospital, I tried to explain that my phone was too old and I didn't have enough battery to record her number in it in order to call her and chat again. She took it as a snub and a hint that I didn't want to be friends with her and left very abruptly, obviously offended.
Al-humdulillah...Finally, since last night, I can return the "stubborn" mobile to the depths of the junk drawer and talk in public without shame:And since it has a 3 mega pixel camera on it, I no longer have to lug my camera around with me in order to capture visual jewels from around town to display on my blog.