Chapter 34:

Smartphone Part 2

New Leaf!

After a few minutes, Ren said that we were done with setting up the phone. He put something called a SIM card in the phone and put a plain white case on it. He then gave it to me.

“Okay, we’re finished.”

I spent a while testing out the phone. Like the TV, I think this thing will also be really handy. But… It felt weird having this. There was a calculator — but I always had to solve problems mentally. There was a clock — but I always had to rely on the sun to tell what time it was. There was a calendar — but I always had to remember and use my surroundings to tell what day it was. There was an app that told the weather — but I always had to guess what the weather would be like based on how the sky looked.



“I… I can’t really explain it well… But… Um…”

I couldn’t come up with what to say. I wanted to tell Ren that it felt wrong to have this phone, but would he truly understand — could he assuage this unethical feeling?

“Ren, why did you give me this phone?”


He took out something from the pocket of his pants. It was about the same size as the phone he gave me and it had jet black colour. It was his own phone. He held it up to me.

“So that we can contact each other. Since I am looking after you, I figured you should be able to contact me whenever you need something.”

“I see… That makes sense.”

Indeed, his reason made sense and he did answer my question… But something still bothered me.

“I… Um… S-Sorry, I’m still being pestered by something.”

“I see…”

By now, I could tell what Ren would do next. He is nice and helpful. Since I expressed my reluctance, I could tell that Ren would try to reassure me. I looked up at Ren and… oh?

His left hand was on his right shoulder? If I remember correctly, he last did this pose when I stumbled onto him on the subway on our way to Grenge park. Actually, I think I’ve seen him mimic this pose a couple of times; for example, when I asked him that “would you rather” question about breathing in space or underwater and during our time in that alleyway. When I asked on the subway, he said it was a minor injury from work. Were they all injuries? Hm… It seemed like Ren was trying to dodge the question that one time. If… If that’s so, then I shouldn't pry then. But still…

“Your question was asking something bigger, correct?”

Oh, maybe that is his thinking pose?

“Y-Yeah. Um… I think… Um, it doesn’t really make sense, but it feels weird having this tool at my disposal. I guess… um… It’s similar to how it would be weird for a hand-to-hand martial artist to use a gun as self-defense…”


“I mean, it’s weird, right? The martial artist is proficient in fighting, but they used a weapon to ward off others. The gun is unnecessary. And wouldn’t the martial artist be guilty? Like, they trained all their life but decided to be lazy and use a weapon to fight instead…”

“I see… You’re feeling a little guilty yourself, correct?”

Can he read minds?

“You think that you will be viewed as lazy for using a multifunctional tool when you did not rely on it when you were homeless, correct?”

“H-How could you tell?”

He shrugged.

“With the things I know about you, I just guessed… Anyways no one will think you’re lazy.”


Ren picked up his phone on the table.

“If people call you lazy, then they would have to call themselves and the vast majority of the population lazy. Who are Simsang and Grapple?”

“Oh? You said that they were the top sellers in the smartphone market.”

“Correct. Everyone relies on their smartphones for a lot of things. And if they did not there wouldn’t be companies supplying them.”

I see…

“And nowadays, even basic smartphones are almost essential. Simsang and Grapple rose to their status now because people want innovation in their smartphones. And people want innovation because they rely on their smartphones so much…”

“But how about the people who don’t or can’t! You said the vast majority, so there are some people who don’t use a smartphone, right?”

“I see…”

Wait, did I stump him. Well, he’s trying to solve my answer so I suppose this would be a bad thing.

“Um… I think you misunderstand — sorry if I did not make it clear. I am not saying whether it’s okay to use your smartphone or not, but rather whether it is okay to be lazy or not.”


“You could argue that the invention of smartphones has made people lazier, but wouldn’t that also be the same for cars, planes, or the Internet?”


“Instead, look at it this way — laziness leads to efficiency.”

“Huh? What are you saying?”

“Think of the creator of the calculator. They probably did not want to exert effort to solve math problems, so they created a program to solve them. Now, math problems are no issue to solve. Or, think of the creator of air travel. They probably did not want to spend time or effort traveling on the ground, so they created a way to move to places quicker. Now, aerial travel benefits a lot of people, whether it is for work or pleasure.”

I… I never thought of it this way before…

“Of course, being lazy is something that people generally want to avoid. But people can be lazy. Overall, laziness can give birth to smart and efficient people that could be beneficial to mankind.”

“I see.”

I thought about this for a while. Laziness can lead to efficiency… I could find some flaws in this concept, for example, finding a workaround to an issue someone is too lazy to solve could require more effort to do. But this concept is not entirely impossible.

“Wow, I never thought about it this way Ren!”

I tilted my head down.

“So this is looking on the bright side of things, right?”

“Hm? R-Right…”

No… I shouldn’t look all gloomy.

“Thanks, Ren, that cheered me up!”

“Sure… Anyways, we should eat dinner now. I bought some food from Beattie’s Heart.”

Oh, I forgot about dinner.

“Yes! Afterward, please teach me more about this smartphone.”


Ren is so reliable… He taught me about another way of looking at something… I wonder if he thinks of things differently a lot of times.