My phone died this evening just as I exited to walk home. Fuck. Left to my own devices with none electronic, I noticed I was actually straining to remember details of a number of things I don’t believe I would have apportioned so much effort to prior. Is my memory capacity diminishing as my need to strengthen my mental muscle weakens, fortified by a silicone equivalent in the form of hard technology? Is that my new memory container? Am I less aware of details in my surroundings now that a photo and, if I’m really greedy, a video, has supplanted an actual memory with? Do I strain less to learn foreign words when Google Translate does the trick? And who’s really doing the tricking? I have a theory that we’re all being tricked into using our phones more and our minds less.
With my new old eyes I noticed a perfect gentleman sitting on the sidewalk reading, and really reading, not just pursuing, a newspaper in a banded wicker Cuban cap, blue suspenders, and a pressed white button down tucked into his ivory khakis. I had the time to think who he might be, who he might have been, and who he could become. I’m sure his story was as interesting as any other, but why ask and limit my imagination to just one reality, when in reality, I had already seen him live ten other lives.
I noticed a balcony on the building behind him with a westward facing wall cemented in colorful glass. I noticed all of the street signs, store signs, any signs of life, all in Spanish, or Catalan if we’re getting specific, and said all of the words aloud in an attempt to train my tongue until I realized I was turning heads and headed in another direction.
I walked for 30 minutes, taking unsystematic lefts and rights and straights, with a general idea of direction, yet without the aid of an e-map, and wouldn’t you know it I ended up just where I was headed. When I arrived I went upstairs to charge my phone and an incoming text notified me I had left my wallet right where I began. Dammit, if only I had had my phone.