She is in her eighties and he at most in early thirties. They lean comfortably on a tower of orange cases in the middle of a big supermarket, discussing smartphone features. He is very fluent in English, but the accent discloses that he did not grow up in Ireland.
“You pull your finger over the screen from the bottom up like this and it will unlock the phone,” he explains with all the patience of the world.
“I see. You are very good…. And can you show me how to make a local call?”
A local call?! I wonder what she meant and smile thinking of the times when a call from a phone number registered in one county was more expensive if you called a number in another county. The times of landlines and one telecom service provider …. These were not so long ago and the meaning of local changed so much in the meantime. Gosh, time and technology seem to fly with speed of light sometimes.
“Where are you from,” is the next thing I hear and, as always, the answer, “Croatia,” catches my attention.
“You are very good …. What’s your name,” she continues her enquiry.
“[Eye-van],” Ivan pronounces the name in a very Irish way, which is certainly not how his mother calls him. Why, I ask myself, but it’s none of my business. It may be his way of trying to belong and feel local in a faraway country that he chose as home.