My Friend’s Cellphone

Jorge Milanes Despaigne 

Photo: Caridad

Not too long ago I read an article which presented the thesis that if cellphones had existed in the age when Romeo and Juliet was written, the work wouldn’t have had its fatal ending.

It’s true that cellphones, or “moviles” (like we call them in Cuba), are exceedingly useful these days.  It’s difficult to conceive of modernity without these devices that offer company to men and women, and even to girls and boys.  Simply by only entering the number of parents or children, we can be ensured that our loved ones are safe and sound.

Still, a lot of energy will have to be expended before cellular technology permeates the lives of Cubans.  At first we had to turn to foreigners for any of us to “get a line.”  Later the government approved the service, though it cost the astronomical price of $132 USD back then.  After too long a time, the price finally fell to $65, –still terribly expensive for the average Cuban worker.

In any case, those details aren’t the point I’m trying to address.  Rather, I wanted to relate what happened to a friend when her son went to Mexico under a work contract and was given a cellphone, which he in turn was able to give to her.

When she traveled to the interior of the country shortly after, she took her phone with her; we can imagine the feeling of an adult presented with such a “shiny new “toy.”  When she got to her destination she promptly called her sister to let her know that she’d made it there OK

However, my friend was traumatized when it came time to hang up: She didn’t know what to press on the keypad.  How do I hang this thing off?” she cried out at the bus terminal.  Thinking twice, she then screamed into the gadget: “Sis, I don’t know how to hang up!”  Then a man walked over to her and said: “Don’t worry Miss.  When your credit runs out, it’ll hang up by itself.”