Born in a Dongguan Factory

A cellphone’s journey

A black Motorola Razor cellphone lay shattered on the ground. Nothing really.

But before it had been everything.

It was born in a Dongguan factory and shaped by a woman who was not born there.

She worked on the scrap. Then she passed it to the next person, who gave it a battery and a screen. That person passed it onto to the next, who placed the phone in a decorated cardboard box.

It rode on a cargo ship out of Guangzhou to America. It was in search of a home.

Homes… it had many.

The first was with a young sales professional. He had just received a large commission and bought the phone off the display rack. He liked its sleek edges.

He carried it. Took it out occasionally. Made a few phone calls, but never made much use of it.

So he sold it to a colleague at work who thought a new phone would help him understand technology.

But soon he became bored of the phone.

So he gave it to his girlfriend as an anniversary present. She had quite delicate hands. She liked to paint her nails the colors of a pacific sunset.

She loved the phone. Playing with the ring tones, sending text messages, and calling her friends.

Soon her boyfriend became mad at her for using it so much. He demanded that she give it back. She refused and they separated.

A year later she dropped the phone. By this time, the screen was cracked and its edges were scuffed.

She decided to give it to her younger brother. He used it for a couple weeks until surmising that the battery life was no longer quite reliable and screen resolution poor. So he stuffed it into the corner of his sock drawer and found a newer model to play games on.

The phone sat there for years. The boy didn’t think about it much. Only when he got dressed in the morning. He knew that it had been a good phone at one time and therefore couldn’t bring himself to throw it away.

Eventually the boy left for college. His mother found the phone in his sock drawer next to an empty pack of cigarettes.

That is how the phone arrived at the town dump in Springfield, Pennsylvania. A worker fished it out of the trash and placed it in the area for used electronics.

There it sat, that is, until a young man happened by. He tried to take out the battery but was unable to pry it open. He was high on pills and became frustrated, so he smashed it on the ground and walked away.

The cellphone lay shattered on the ground. Nothing really.