My iPhone vibrated and chimed to let me know a text had come in.
I was sitting at my desk at work, so I dug the silver brick out of my pocket and looked to see who had texted me.
The screen just showed a phone number, which meant that the person wasn’t in my address book. The text mentioned a birthday party for the sender, tomorrow night, at a bowling alley. It had the look of something sent to a bunch of people, a blast group text, rounding up a posse.
I had, just a week or two ago, done some cleaning up of my address book. Had I mistakenly deleted someone who still texted me? I couldn’t think of anyone – the list of texts I had received in the last few weeks had names and pictures attached to numbers; it looked complete.
Was this from someone I hadn’t talked to in a long time? A girl I had dated once or twice and then fallen out of contact with? Did I get included by mistake? Was this spam?
So many questions. I tried Googling the number, but nothing turned up.
I walked over to my friend Ken’s cube, sat down across from him. “I just got this text and I don’t know who it’s from.” I showed him my phone.
“It could be spam,” he suggested. “Replying might sign you up for something.” He shifted to his Announcer Voice. “Congratulations, by reying to this text you are now the proud recipient of a lifetime subscription to the ringtone of the month club, billed in one lump sum of $999.99!”
“Who, me?” I smiled.
“Did you try Googling it?”
I nodded. “I should just reply like I know who it is. Maybe mess with ’em a bit.”
Ken gave me a blank stare. “Or you could just tell them that your address book is messed up and you don’t know who it is.”
“Where’s the fun in that?” I was smiling, still. “You and your whole ‘be honest and straight-forward’ kick!”
Ken turned back to the computer he was working on, quickly. A bit too quickly; he betrayed a little frustration. “Whatever. Just reply.”
“This could very likely be a wrong number, or someone I removed from my address book for a good reason,” I continued, only half-serious. “It’s entertaining to play around a little.” Meanwhile, I was already keying in a reply – an honest and straight-forward reply, explaining that I had messed up my address book and did not know who had sent me the text.
Ken said, “You’re going to mess something up and piss someone off, just because they invited you to a birthday party! I just do not get you sometimes!” He was a bit rant-y.
“I like things that are entertaining. And if they’re not already, I like making them that way. What can I say?” I was needling him a little, even as I hit send on essentially the text he suggested I send.
“You’re trying to make it a better story. When it’s already a good story to begin with.”
“May-be,” I conceded.
Soon enough, the reply came back: it was a waitress at the Limelight, a restaurant I eat at frequently. I sent a quick “Oh, hi! Happy almost-birthday!” back to acknowledge I’d gotten the text. Nice!
Good thing I hadn’t carried through with my random anarchy plan…