Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Reminders of transience

I finally got around to cleaning up the address book in my mobile phone this morning. It has a pretty tiny memory, and rather too quickly reaches the point where I can't input any new numbers (and thus have to carry them around on pieces of paper in my wallet, or stored in the - even less voluminous - SMS Inbox on the phone).

It's a tiresome little chore that I've been putting off and putting off....

And what do I find from this operation?

In the space of the last 18 months or so:

3 people lost their phones, and thought it too much hassle to reclaim their original number.

1 person changed her number to try to avoid having to talk to her ex-husband.

2 people mysteriously vanished without trace. (Ex-girlfriends? Any connection??)

4 people moved to other parts of China. (Although there are only 2 national mobile service providers, each of these companies is divided into numerous semi-autonomous regional entities; and thus SIM cards here are area-specific - you can "roam" with them [although it is outrageously expensive], but you can only top up in your 'home' area. Hence, every time you move, you need to get a new card, a new phone number. But, of course, you keep your old phone number, just for when you're back in Beijing for the occasional weekend. There's one guy I now have 4 different China phone numbers for!!)

And 14 people quit the country.

I have commented before (most famously, here) on the extremely high rate of flux in the population of my friends here. But this phone-cleansing rigmarole really brought it home to me: I think I 'lose' at least one person a month on average (although it tends to be concentrated into the summer months each year).

And this evening I'm being dragged off to a leaving do for a guy I've never even met! Such is expat social life....


Anonymous said...

ooh, i need to do that. i keep running across names that I'm not sure where I met or if they're still here. and then there are the emotional keepers --- people I wish were still here. Just can't get myself to delete those numbers, yet.

The British Cowboy said...

This, of course, is not China specific. The DC area is notorious for multiple phone numbers - there are 4 codes in the very close vicinity (703 and now 751 for NoVA, 202 for DC, and something for MD), and because everyone is so transient here, many people keep their old numbers for a while and then change.

I too have to do a semi regular purge.

Anonymous said...

Ha! yes, I actually started typing a second para to my above comment about my DC experience with this, but sensed the writing genie was about to consume me with a long story about all my years/friends/loves in DC and stopped the typing... even now the story is itching to come out - but it will have to wait, i have other things to do.

I still have my DC number (202) which I kept even after moving to Texas, and even now, in Beijing (though it doesn't work here). Comes in handy on my frequent trips back :)

The British Cowboy said...

When are you next back Tulsa? I would be interested in putting a face to the name...

Anonymous said...

December just got cancelled (Looks like I'll be working through Christmas.) So, for now, early March. I'll keep you posted.

Froog, please connect us.