I don't love using the phone, here or at home. I can't hear the devices that well and it seems I'm always on a bus or walking on the main road when someone calls. Talk about impossible to communicate.
But here in Sri Lanka people are addicted to their mobiles. People call for the smallest things. They check in constantly. They keep calling long after you're gone to make sure you're OK. Everyone wants to exchange numbers and I do it reluctantly.
When the phone rings (and it does plenty) you see a random lineup of numbers. I don't know why. I always put in the contact name with the numbers. But the random strings of digits keep coming. If your phone is put away or shut off and you don't hear it ring it's polite form to call back. That costs Dialog minutes which are easy enough to reload unless you're away from the kades (small shops) like I am. And sometimes you have to reload by little perforated cardboard cards with the code number hidden like a lottery. Then there are more codes to press in and another if you want to check your balance.
So I'm not sure why I did it. Maybe it was hoping we'd have a reliable driver on tap. Maybe I was so proud of putting together a sentence in Sinhala. Anyway the other day I asked our tuktuk driver here in Tangalle to write down his number in our phone.
When we were supposed to meet yesterday at one he wasn't there. The lineup of drivers said in chorus, "Deepal? He's gone to Mirissa. Hire me! I'm his brother! I can take you!" Just the tiniest feeling of loyalty (and not wanting the hassle of getting to know a new driver) made me think of calling him. So I rang three times and hung up, pretty desperate to not use up my Dialog minutes. Anyway it's what people do. About a half our my phone rang.
"Kauda?!" asked the voice on the other line. "Who is it?!"
A new use for a simple word and a new insight into using the phone. I broke the sound barrier by learning a two syllable word and how to use it.