[ Note : prayers and concern for our kabayan stricken by Typhoon Pablo, especially in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and the rest of Mindanao and Visayas, may the government and kind hearts move swiftly to alleviate their misfortune this Christmas season. ]
I ONLY had a few moments before the bigwigs from Auckland would come by for a visit, the new equipment installed had made certain of that. Tall as a two-storey house and worth a good chunk of the entire annual budget for our site, one of the two new packers just being broken in were going to streamline production, get us ready for 24/7 operations and hopefully keep the company in the black.
Eventually as it turned out the suits got delayed at the airport, by a certain movie premiere that tied up half the city in snags and knots, but at the time nobody at our site knew, so there was an air of anticipation for hopefully a seal of good housekeeping and stewardship of our (comparatively) provincial resources.
But back to my few moments. I had pockets so bulky that they looked like they had half of my worldly belongings with me, and considering that, besides my happy meal toy and running sneaker collection, I possess a rather austere set of possessions, my accessories looked anomalous for a hi-tech holdout of the late 20th century that grew up with black-and-white TV, windup watches and toys, rotary telephones and, nostalgically, manual tak-tak-tak typewriters.
To look a bit more presentable and to forestall the obvious, that technically I was flouting the basic rule that no metal objects (save maybe a ball-point pen and a screwdriver) were to be carried on your person in the production area, I had (what I then thought was) literally minutes before 9 am, when late-model rentals would come blazing into the executives’ carpark.
So I won’t miss anything, I’ll just give you a short commentary of each item you see on the picture above.
Cell phone – (white, generic China-made with double-sim feature) a hand-me-down from esposa hermosa who of course recently got a flashy phone. Ordinarily I don’t fancy having a phone with me at work, especially since it’s frowned upon, but the last few days I’d seen so little of either esposa or Ganda and Bunso that any kind of communication from them would make my day go a little faster, and because thoughtful SMS texts about reminders to wear hi-viz jackets biking home, funny characters encountered at their sushi place / burger counter / library (regular haunts of the three) and updates are regularly issued by them, keeping the phone handy was a treat for me. But not, obviously, for the frayed pouch of my workpants.
Remote electronic gate-opener (white, rectangular) and door key (black, coin-shaped, attached to key ring/chain) – I pair these together as they perform the same functions, keep pesky visitors out and inmates in. Ever since the company adopted a more-or-less serious security policy, it’s become standard to issue staff with keys, but theoretically only shift workers get issued gate openers. The gadgets (does anyone still use that word?) all look flashy and make the possessor feel exclusive / important until you realize the so-called “restricted area” has multiple side-doors that anyone can open and use, and the site gate guards a porous location that can be accessed via adjacent factories, low fences and empty lots at the back.
USB flash drive/s (black, by itself, and black, attached to key ring/chain) – Today I happen to have two of these, one for document files and another for movies from persons I may “accidentally” bump into and mooch movies from. I don’t ask where they got them from and they don’t tell me, that way I enjoy plausible deniability if the movie sources are questioned. I know I’m dodgy that way but I’m also a loyal member of the video rental near the mall so it balances out naman, I hope. 😉 Anytime I need to have an important document scanned on a remote site, flash drives are the handiest things to have around, it’s like having a thick suitcase full of folders and papers that you can access (almost) anytime.
MP4 player – pink, so cheap thieves leave it alone, which I appreciate. I can’t afford a smartphone, I lost the charger of my iPod Shuffle (outdated anyway) and I need to listen to something while biking and running, otherwise I feel flat and tire easily. This is why the player above, despite the fact that it needs to be recharged twice a day, carries barely two dozen songs (for now Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes which are helpful for a moderate jogging pace, and Side A and Rivermaya standards for my sentimental moods) and keeps conking out on me, the MP4 is a constant companion. It also uses those tacky graphics and Taiwanese video prompts but the latter two features are bearable, just wanted you to know. It serves a purpose that makes routine nearly pleasurable, which is to serve comfort music when you’re all alone except for the wind, the road and your bike and/or running shoes.
inhaler (blue, filled with salbutamol vial) – This is a remnant of a recent bout with asthma, from which I suffer occasionally but which has become rarer in recent years and especially after I stopped smoking and started exercising regularly. It’s more like a security blanket for me because as far as I can tell, I’ve only used it once in Wellington, and as any patient with respiratory issues will tell you, it works like magic. However, it’s not very wise to be found with it at checkpoints and random searches, as you have to convince the inspector / searcher that you’re not using it for anything else.
rimless glasses (plastic, extremely lightweight) – you may be wondering, particularly since my pockets are filled enough, why this is a pocket item. Well, it’s not, usually, but because it’s not progressive lens, I take it off from time to time, like when I read or view things up close. Not very convenient, and given a choice, the next time I go home to the Philippines, it will be one of the first things I’ll purchase, a necessary luxury for me.
There, those are the contents cluttering my pockets, not to mention my notebook, small tools and pen. To repeat, I have resisted technology aggressively and have only grudgingly conceded its creature comforts against the inevitable victory of Age and Time. But some watchamacallits you pick up here and there, and you wonder how you ever got along without them. One, a few or all of the items on the list here you will probably share with me, and for those technogeeks and gadgetmasters who use the latest devices as soon as they’re available on the market, I’m happy for you and all that, but I’ll just catch up after coffee, don’t wait up!
- Philippines: Flash flood brought by Bopha/Pablo kills 43 (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Is modern technology God-sent or just plain evil? (nzherald.co.nz)
- ‘So, that’s what a typhoon is like’ (newsinfo.inquirer.net)