You Have A Collect Call

June 3, 2011

When I first went to college, my brother and I shared two-bedroom apartment. We both attended the same university for a while – or, more often than was appropriate, completely failed to attend the classes in which we were enrolled.

We both had odd sleep cycles. His tended towards the oversleeping end of the spectrum, while I almost constantly suffered from insomnia. One evening, he came home from not attending class looking exhausted, and announced that he was turning in for the night. I stayed in the living room, and almost immediately, heard him start to snore.

It was, at that point, only about 6:00 or so in the evening, so I continued my general cycle of watching TV, playing video games, eating, and (occasionally) even studying. Around 1:00am I started to get tired, so I decided to get ready for bed. As I was heading towards my bedroom, the phone rang.

The voice on the other end was the collect-call robo operator: “You have a collect call from ____.” The thing was, when it got to the part where the other person was supposed to identify themselves, it was my brother’s voice. He sounded desperate, and the background noise sounded like he was just off a busy interstate.

Except that, from the phone in the kitchen, I could still plainly see my brother lying in his bed, and his cell phone lying on the kitchen counter. I declined the charges, and completely failed to steady my nerves enough to manage sleep that night.

[I think there’s something fundamentally more unnerving when something unexplained happens involving technology (versus without technology). The electronic artifacts of our life are impassive slaves to purpose, lacking will or emotion. When technology behaves in an impossible on inexplicable way, it undermines the comfort we derive from our reliance upon it.]

– Posted by PSBlake ; Reddit


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