María, our beautiful and young leader* at our Thursday’s Writing Workshop gave us a prompt for the coming week, and I thought I should try to write a slice of life from it. She talks about the importance of choosing the narrator of a story. It’s the first choice a writer needs to make when writing down the first sentence on the blank page. Who will tell the story? The point of view of the narrator will be our point of view as readers. It´s very different if I am the one that tells the story, as if it´s an omniscient narrator, or a secondary character. How many times we have seen the story of the three little pigs told from the point of view of the Wolf or one particular pig? Last week our prompt was to write about Little Red Riding Hood in a news form; it could be an interview, a chronicle, a letter to the editor, a critic´s view, etc. I wrote a letter to the editor written by the very own Little Red Riding Hood defending her women´s rights. But that´s another slice.
This week´s prompt is to write a story taking our cell phones as the narrator. Yes, our mobile phone will narrate the story of the protagonist. María challenges us by asking “Who does know us better than our phone? How many things do we have in our phones that we don´t share with anybody?”
*that’s the way Maria jokingly said we should always address her, and I am a very obedient student.
So, here is my slice of life told by my phone.
Good morning. I am a Moto 5g old generation. I landed in Pia´s hands two years ago when her brother saw how slow was her previous phone, while they were travelling together in Croatia. As soon as the trip was over, he got on Amazon, and shipped her moi. She was thrilled. She could store so many photos, and also get apps she couldn´t even imagine getting before. She loved me immediately.
I always sleep plugged in next to her night table, despite the horror stories about cell phones radiation, and disruptions in human quality of sleep. Sometimes she lays me down on the floor, on top of a book. Today, I woke her up with my alarm at 6:00 am. I don´t know why because she snoozes me until 6:45 am and sometimes even later. This time I can´t blame her. Last night she had put me to sleep at 1 am.
As soon as she opens her eyes she looks for her glasses and glances at me. If nothings is popping up on the screen, she just go to the bathroom and gets ready for the day. She knows that as soon as I get in her hands, it´s difficult to let me go. I am so attractive.
Last year, she turned all my apps notifications off since they were distracting her too much from real work and real life. At least this is what she tells herself. All but her children´s. She doesn´t like to miss anything about them. They have a busy life in college, and the time differences between Europe and the US don´t help much. Her children´s Whatsapp messages show on my screen silently even when either she or I or both are asleep. It´s pretty annoying but she loves it. Or does she need them?
Today I was proud I helped her American niece to get a hold of Pia via whatsapp, since she was a little confused about what train to take to return to Sevilla from Cádiz.
Later on the day she figured out her son is enjoying his Spring break skiing with his friends. His story on Instagram is amazing. I sent her a notification that Vincent uploaded a new story. What a beautiful day for skiing it was. She marveled at the short video and sent messages back and forth to her son. In the meantime, her daughter sent her text messages over Voxer which is really strange because nobody texts in Voxer. I know it is because she is in class, and can´t talk.
When Pia is in front of the computer working, she doesn´t use me too much. She keeps forgetting me in odd places, and her husband has to call me several times just to figure out I was left in the bathroom, the kitchen, underneath the clean laundry, or sometimes even in her own bra. The latter happen when she doesn´t have pockets or purse where she can carry me. Since last year though, when she gets out she always put me on a little sweaty fanny bag she carries everywhere. I am crammed in with a white Chinese battery, and her leather change purse also packed with IDs, coins, receipts, and 5 or 10 euro bills.
Lately, she has gotten into the habits of putting me an earphone cord to listen to audio books. Today she spent an unusual amount of time searching for books in the three different digital book apps that I have on myself. One from Spain, one from Chile and one from the US. That way she barely needs to buy books. Also, I know she is taking off soon to the US (I have her flight on her Google calendar app) and she is getting ready for having interesting reading material on the plane and her stay in Virginia and Oregon. The only problem is that in Overdrive some of the most recent books are all borrowed and the waiting list is amazing. There are 0 copies of 20 available of Educated by Tara Westover. She placed the hold two months ago and she still is number 318 on the audiobook and 219 on the ebook.
At 6:30 pm she takes off to her writing workshop. She wears a wrist watch that is 7 minutes ahead of time, so she thinks she won´t arrive late to meetings and such, but always catches her by surprise when she sees the real time on my beautiful screen portraying her two children smiling. It´s too bad I can´t take a selfie of myself to put in this slice. I have to ask my old fashioned Canon Camera friend to do it for me.
Anyway, she put me in her fanny bag and we take off biking really fast, because she is indeed late. She arrives at the workshop when everybody is sitting around the table. She brought some brownies. This is going to be her last meeting, at least for a while. She will be in the US for two months. She leaves me on her backpack, but 15 minutes before 8, she takes me out. She needs to leave half an hour earlier. Her husband is participating in a round table discussion about the Green New Deal at 8:30 pm in Sevilla and she doesn´t want to miss that.
Between readings, and when the participants get off topic, she touches me and starts Strava and Mapmyrun. She is biking to Sevilla, and enjoys tracking down her path. She also wants to make sure she knows where is the meeting and fires up Google Maps. I am just hoping I last the entire trip. My battery gets exhausted with all the apps she has open.
She reads in a hurry her Little Red Riding Hood letter to the editor, and gets up apologizing that she is late. It´s already 8:05 pm. Everybody gives her two kisses and a hug. She gets her reflective vest, puts the front and back lights on her bike, straps the fanny pack where I am almost suffocated, and darts out pedaling as fast as the dark and traffic let her while Maria´s question still resonates in her mind: Did you write this letter very fast? —Yeah, probably between slices.
Usually she fools around when she bikes, stops, and takes photos of random things, or put her earphones and listen to a book if it´s a boring ride. Not this time. We can´t arrive late. While she is double locking the bike to the pole, she looks at me. 8:30 sharp. She opens my camera and takes a selfie that she sends to her writing group while she types “I arrived”. I don´t know if she does it because she is bragging or because she knows her group cares about her safety. Probably both.
Lying in bed very late at night, she tries to put a story on Instagram about her husband talk, but I am working very sloppy and slow. I think I am getting old. I am afraid I will end up in the box of old gadgets.
Even though I know she would get very upset if I got lost, I still think she hides many things from me. I wish I knew her better.