ONE WAY CONVERSATION |2007|
Magazine (second edition*)
*10 year anniversary edition left in Scruffs Hairdressers, Cambridge. Read e-magazine.
The last of all my friends to buy a mobile phone, always intrigued by the succinct, instantaneity of text messages, I wrote down every message received verbatim for the period of a year, a month and a day, spanning from 05.05.2005 until 06.06.2006, published them in a single physical magazine the following year and left it amongst the other magazines in the local public library on the 7th of July 2007.
Depressed and restless, broke some months back in England and with a gnawing sense of being lost in the world, of having made the wrong choice, I passed from one decade of life to another. Ten years later and now leaving my thirties for my forties, I look upon the recorded texts the way I look upon the handwritten letters in dusty shoe boxes that came before. They represent an intensity of feeling which still takes me by surprise along with spasms of regret and pride and even of wonderment that such emotions were ever expressed at all. I struggle to recognize some of the main characters, myself included.
With almost no internal memory by comparison to modern phones, I wrote down the texts on any paper at hand before erasing them from the phone. Shortly after June 2006, my first ever mobile deteriorated into regularly chopping messages, attaching segments to different conversations, as seen toward the end of the project. To the frustration of some, I admired the very human errors it made occasionally in processing texts, until it began to ascribe incoming messages to different people entirely, which seemed like the natural end to the basic phone’s usefulness.
Describing a scene whilst at the bar, dad once told me about the stranger next to him who called his name in a kind of cautious surprise. It took some moments to realize that the stranger was someone from the past. Someone he hadn’t seen in decades, but at one time a close friend. He was shocked at the sudden jolting notion of enough time having passed to fade a once familiar face into obscurity. Dismissing this as a teenager, I felt strongly that this kind of thing could never happen to me in true adulthood, before eventually grasping with the same surprise at the bar that friends are like accidents you slowly recover from.
© 2007 PM BROWNE