6. Taking Photos Discreetly – Today any phone worth its salt has a camera. Use the camera. A phone camera can be used very discreetly. You pretend you’re texting but you are making memories. You meet a lady wearing the hairstyle you have wanted for so long. You cannot stop and ask her where she did her hair because she will not want you looking as beautiful as herself. So you take your quick photo and run. Discreet photography is better done quick and with no flash. And the handbag you want counterfeited in China? Right there in the shop, pretend to text then act fast. If caught, you could be arrested or have your phone confiscated and erased as you watch. If you like to lean on the edge of trouble, try taking photos at airports, embassies and government offices. At your own peril.
7. To be Unreachable – Whenever someone wants to be unreachable and they ignore ringing phones, I always think of them as cowards and lacking in creativity. The best way to be unreachable is to pick the damn phone. What you say next is what matters. You owe someone money. You didn’t pay back on time. Now he’s calling. If you don’t pick, he gets suspicious. His next move will probably be to appear unannounced at your house or office. That could be embarrassing. How about picking the phone. Take control of the conversation….”Telepathy. I was just about to call you….I know. I’m in Uganda right now and the roaming service is costly. Let me call you when I return in 2 days. Promise.”
Or keep it short and simple. Pick up the phone. Say (in a whisper): “I’m at the hospital (or bank, or work meeting). Can’t talk now.” If he keeps talking, keep whispering. “Sure. I haven’t forgotten our…deal.” If you can’t even mention the word debt, maybe you are truly at a meeting.
Option 3 is to get someone next to you pick your phone and say you forgot it at home. This is a well-known lie in all circles In Kenya. But no person in their right mind will scream at the person claiming to be your wife that you owe money. The most the debt collector can do is leave an exasperated message.
Of course, these strategies only aim to buy you time. You still must pay the debt. Once you get another 2 days of silence make sure you have the money. Or a new trick.
8. Hiding Illicit Affairs – A phone is a good way to hide illicit affairs from prying eyes. These can be the eyes of your mother, spouse, sometimes even employer. For instance, you want to hide your new Muslim boyfriend from your very Catholic mother. Don’t save his name as Hassan. Save it as Harry. Only you know that Harry is Hassan. The debt collector calls for the tenth time and your wife doesn’t know you are doing some illegal deals out there. Save his name as Mechanic John. Tell your wife that you owe the mechanic for the major engine work you did on the car. When you get caught, just don’t quote me.
9. Giving a Poor Impression – You are a good guy. You want to get rid of a new girlfriend. You don’t want to dump her because….well, you are a good guy. You’d rather give the impression that you’re a bad guy and then she’ll dump you herself. You could also cheat on her, but that will traumatize her and good guys don’t do that. You can start showing her your bad manners. Talking with your mouth full? That doesn’t work. She will report to her friends that “he has poor table manners but he’s trainable. It’s even kinda cute.” The phone could come to the rescue. When she says “we need to talk.” Pull out the phone, start texting and reply “I’m listening,” without even looking up. Tell that you can’t help it. Text again when she takes you to Church. Expect the wrath of everyone on your bench especially if your mobile keys make repeated irritating noises. Finally, text when you first meet her parents. When her dad asks what you do reply while texting, Pause your reply to send text and then ask him to repeat his question.
If it happens, that she forgives all that texting, you may want to ask yourself why you want to dump her. She could be a keeper.
10. Record People’s Conversations – This is an excellent job for your mobile phone. You can record conversations of the couple in the next table at the restaurant. Or record conversations of people talking with you on phone. This effort needs to serve a purpose. Like the future book you will write and peel off people’s masks or other benefits that could ensue. Did you hear about the guy who kept emails between himself and Nike’s management over the child labour used to make his sneakers? Well that email went viral and he went on to do bigger things. Suppose you get your boss to talk about the way balance sheets are adjusted to make the company look more profitable that it really is. It may not be a bright idea to run to sell it to the media, if you’re in the States. In Kenya, you will not sell it for much and the media will talk about it for maximum three days. Who will hire you after that? Maybe you could keep it until the same boss tell you that your contract will no longer be extended. At that point you share your secret and he sees what he can do to save your job.
You have a useful gadget in your hands. Use it.