Archive for March 26th, 2012

26th March
written by amber


My devices have started talking to me. My microwave says, “What’s your problem? This would have taken an hour in the oven.” My GPS says, “I have no idea how you ever got along without me. You have absolutely no sense of direction.”

My Kindle mocks me. “What did you do before me? Buy over-priced first editions at book stores? Or dog-eared seconds at the Book Nook? Or, better yet, germ-infested loaners from the library?”

I am not going crazy. I knew the devices weren’t really talking to me, that it was really my own imagination. And at first, I thought it was funny. I thought it was clever. I posted about the stupid things my electronics said to me, the snide remark my DVD player made, the whinging from my outdated cell phone when I bought a new one and relegated the old one to a drawer. Everyone bought into the joke, posted me back with their own interactions with appliances.

Then I got bored with it and tried to shut it off. And it didn’t stop. At every turn, there were voices in my head proclaiming the superiority of machines and the helplessness of humankind. Specifically, of the kind of human that was me.

So I thought perhaps I was going mad in a modern subtle way. Perhaps I had a new syndrome, inferiority by Rube Goldberg proxy or some such thing.

But my friends who were posting and tweeting about it began to complain to me that I’d infested them with voices from their devices, that they also could not stop hearing the taunts, the boasting, the scorn.

Last week a bunch of us met in a basement room in the dark. We didn’t bring our smart phones, or Ipads, or even digital watches. We discussed the problem, learning far more than any of us wanted to know about the effect of this on-going harassment. Some people are becoming dangerously depressed.

And when I returned to my apartment, my computer would not work until I’d suffered through a long mental tirade about the ubiquity of the ‘world mind’s reach.’ World mind? This is not something I would have made up.

I’ve written a note with a pencil. On paper. And I hand delivered it to my friends. Next week we’ll meet in a field, as far from power lines or cell phone towers as we can get.

I’m actually not very optimistic.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.