The phone beeps

It’s because of the mobile phone that he’s so stressed, says the friend in a small group. Because it terrorizes him, he says. It beeps all the time and wants his attention because some company is making a lot of money with it – with his attention. And then he tells us what a clever system he has devised to set his mobile phone so that certain messages are only allowed to arrive at certain times and not at others. And his watch, which he has tied to his wrist and which is also connected to the mobile phone, he has also set so that only very specific messages are displayed and the vast majority are not.

I wonder how much energy he has invested in figuring out how to do all this, with turning off certain messages and not others. And how much energy it takes to maintain this sophisticated system.

How would I handle that problem, he asks me.

I don’t do anything. When the phone beeps because a message has arrived, I leave it when I don’t feel like it and when I do feel like it, I look to see what the message was. Most of the time I don’t feel like it.

“I can’t do that,” he says, “I always have to look at it.” He doesn’t say that, he doesn’t say anything but his look reveals that he thinks I’m a fool.

But the silly ape I am I say what I think anyway, because I think it might be a clever tip that could improve my friend’s life. But instead of accomplishing that, I only earn more stupid looks that chill my zest for life by a quarter of a degree even days later when I think about it.

That’s why I’ve written it down made a story out of it. From now on, I can enjoy the memories of the stupid looks because they have born a story, and I like stories.

And if anyone ever wants to know how I do my little trick of letting phones beep, just ask.