The Sunday Mail
with Rosenthal Mutakati
EACH time my cellphone rings, I feel like a sharp knife is being driven right into my skin.
I initially did not like the gadget.
This was until someone in high authority gave me a closed-ended option to either buy one or kiss goodbye my profession as a journalist.
The prospect of being jobless was quite unimaginable considering the weight of responsibilities on my shoulders.
I begrudgingly bought one within the three-day ultimatum.
Not that I do not appreciate the convenience cellphones bring, but the gadget exposes one to abuse.
Each time it rings, be prepared to be lied to, to be crooked or to be inconvenienced.
It is not unusual to call someone who owes you cash and they claim to be in Mutorashanga even when you are driving right behind them.
“Rudhara urwo haruna foni (That whole big man has no phone),” workmates would laugh at me.
“Nani kutsvaga mombe nekuti inebhero pana Mutakati nekuti haana foni (It is better to look for cows in the woods because they have bells than Mutakati who does not have a cellphone),” the blokes would purr while quaffing cold beers at now-banned drinking joints across the city.
I had grown accustomed to being the butt of jokes for not owning a cellphone and was cool with it because at least my blood pressure was within manageable levels.
My dislike for cellphones started long back when I ran a commuter omnibus (kombi) and pirate taxi business. Each time the phone rang I knew there was trouble.
“Mhanyai necash mudhara, ndasungwa kuno (Bring cash I have been arrested),” drivers would call.
Even those who would have missed their daily target after spending much of the productive time with women of easy virtue would call and lie that the vehicle was giving them problems.
If you own a kombi or pirate taxi, it is not advisable to always answer your phone because the business is a high-adrenalin affair, where you can be given bad news at any second, minute or hour.
Such businesses need tough-talking people whose demeanour make someone think twice before lying to them.
A cellphone today is a must-have because it keeps you within reach and makes it possible for one to conduct transactions at the click of a keypad.
But these gadgets have brought with them a great deal of pain.
As I commit pen to paper gentle reader, I am currently nursing sore feet and aching jaws after I volunteered to purse a cousin’s wife who had called the marriage quits after stumbling upon a love message in her husband’s cellphone.
I had to spend the whole night playing the role of the United Nations, negotiating with her to come back home, hence the aching jaws.
“I am sick and tired of his ways. Why does he not give up this lifestyle of a player and settle down like other men who are taking good care of their families,” the bloke’s wife complained.
But my cousin is not the only victim.
A neighbour is nursing burns after his wife scalded him with porridge following a call from a former girlfriend.
“He thought he was clever, but every dog has its day. The message from the lover flashed while I was cooking and I could not control my emotions,” the wife said while confessing in church.
In divorce proceedings, printouts of love messages are read out in court as evidence of someone’s infidelity, and were it not for the cellphones, there was no way such information would have leaked. Cellphones also make people easy targets for criminals.
At times the gadget rings while you are passing through a dark spot.
Also, the gadget can ring and give away a tenant desperately hiding from a landlord seeking his overdue rentals.
Igombototo nemashura ezviratidzo.
Owning a cellphone is as if you have committed a crime.
It is almost unusual for your phone to ring without your spouse getting curious about who is calling and for what.
In nine times out of 10, they will scroll the messages and help themselves to your mobile money wallet if they have the pin.
They can also spoil themselves with airtime and data bundles at your expense.
“When he said ‘I do’ he knew he has to take care of me and all my needs.
“Why would a man worth his salt cry over money and data bundles? Same-same tsuro nenungu mumwena mumwechete abaiwa ngaabude,” you hear women saying while getting their hair done in salons.
Allowing someone to use your phone can also put you in harm’s way.
Some people will use your phone to
call their married lovers, which ultimately would make you the target of the seething husband.
Some cellphones get their owners into trouble with their spouses because they record every base station they connect to, hence do not be surprised when your spouse asks you: “Ko manga mava kutsvagei kuDzivaresekwa?”
Cellphones bring a wealthy world of convenience but can expose you to harm.