The performance with a telephone

There’s a photo of me as a toddler at my grandparents’ place.

In the photo, the three-year-old me was holding the handset of a telephone to my ear. I looked curious and was saying something into the phone.

As for how I remembered it, it was an unused phone. There was no one on the other line.

I was just “performing” a phone call.

That’s what I did as a small kid. I did “performances”.

Singing and dancing were the regular performances for me. But what I also did was “acting”. And “telephoning” was one of my favorites — even my signature “show”.

I used to memorize every telephone number of all our family members. My parents’ home, their work phones, my grandparents’ place, my grandpa’s work phone, my aunts and uncles’ homes, and their work phones… That was before cellphones became available everywhere. Everybody used to have a little address book where they noted down their contacts’ numbers and addresses.

I was really proud to be able to remember all these telephone numbers. I loved how impressed everyone was when I recited these numbers to them. So “making the call” became one of my special performances.

I would “call” my family members on command. Then I would make up reasons why I needed to “call” them.

I was calling my grandpa asking him when he’s coming back from work for dinner.

I was calling my mother to ask her whether I could wear my white skirt with yellow flowers to kindergarten.

I was calling my aunt to tell her that I missed her and looked forward to seeing her next week…

I was making those “calls” because I saw the grownups doing it.

What I did was not just perform but practice. Because I didn’t miss any chance to make a real call by myself.

The phone in my hand, to me, was able to magically bring everyone I love instantly to me. The confirmation of the connection, the strengthening of the relationship gratified my little heart. That’s why I enjoyed the telephone.

Oh, the good old days…

I wonder what kind of similar experience with telecommunication my daughter is going to have along her way.


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