Like Mark Rutte, Senay Boztas has been deleting text messages from his old Nokia for many years. She wouldn’t want it any other way.
Reader, I have an old Nokia. I regularly delete text messages. It’s because it’s running out of memory, then when some grumpy security system texts me with a passcode, it only arrives when I’ve deleted most of the stuff in the system.
I’d like to say it’s a Nokia 301, in excellent company with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, whose old phone ran out of space so often that he deleted his messages (forwarding those to archive to officials with, uh, better phones).
To be honest, dear reader, my black Nokia is so old that I have absolutely no idea. I tried looking at the number on the back, but it’s so faded with long use, and my eyes are so faded with long use too, that I’m none the wiser.
But I love this phone.
It never lacks power. It’s number one. I lose it several days in a row because it’s so small that it slips into the lining of coat pockets that I haven’t had time to sew up. Or the bottoms of backpacks, with sticky packets of ancient raisins — from the days when a snack cured everything from a scraped knee to a starving child’s grizzly. Anyway, by the time I found it, because it rings, my Nokia still has enough battery to make the call.
Invariably the caller comes from a chain of hotels in the north of England, where I once stayed, asking me if I would like to return. (Not really). Or someone trying to sell me a dodgy pension upgrade, after stealing my old employer’s pension plan details. (I’m equally excited.)
This phone is fantastic, and what I like the most is that it’s not filled with useless text messages. He doesn’t even have Whatsapp, and if he could access that service, I have absolutely no idea how to download an app on it anyway.
What am I missing? Aggressive midnight pings from nuisance groups Can’t leave without making a statement on leaving? A child asks for more time on Roblox, when the answer is clearly no? Any updates on the lice situation in the classroom or arguments about whether £7 is too much to spend on a gift for a teacher? (It’s not, because in the face of all the red tape initiatives, it’s still amazing).
My Nokia is pure and clean of it all.
When I look at the messages that remained, because I didn’t delete them, they’re a glorious, random Drop of English mixed. ‘Steve, what is your total cost for editing?’ from 2015. What was suitable? How much did it cost ? Who is Steve? Only history knows, because I don’t have a government official to pass on important archival messages or Freedom of Information requests (like Mark Rutte).
Someone needs access to a box marked ‘electrical hazard’, I am informed in another. Did they get it? More importantly, did they survive the danger? There is food for the imagination here on long sleepless nights.
A few others come from friends about lovely evenings in London; I’m still getting heart palpitations, over a touchy story where I tried for three days to reach an institution for a response on allegations, and someone finally texted me back late that evening before the publication. One from my dad, before he passed away, asking for a two-minute call. We can’t have another.
It’s all there, on my unknown vintage Nokia, with its limited text messaging capability, limited internet access, and solid resistance to the rush of modern life.
It’s a phone you use to talk to people, to solve problems, to work, to help people. To organize meetings in real life, eye to eye (preferably with a raised glass).
It’s also Finnish, like half of me, and a brand that was once the go-to source of enormous national prosperity.
Long live Nokia and limited SMS.
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