A single sound. A bright light, a robot’s voice, one that has no dialect or personality, merely words on a brightly lit screen that is like a God in the minds of ant like humans. Only a small device and nothing of any sustenance; to a person unaccustomed… but nobody is unaccustomed.
Ada dwelled. She dwelled because she knew she was caught in a trap and deliberated a response. Staring at words – for they were only words – and a conversation that really wasn’t a conversation, because it was text, begging the question of what defines a conversation, but to Ada, it felt like one.
Intimacy seemed to only happen over this way; slowly, and then all at once. She thought back to what led her to that exact moment, as she sat in her living room, with its grey and white themes of sulky dreariness, and the sofa she sat on was an off-coloured beige, and the only source of colour from the phone screen, like a rainbow of promise shining through. Ada was taken back to the feelings of worry in the past that a certain tone was ‘off’ through its language, and immediately casting that aspersion. Maybe this wasn’t done at the time, but presently, she imagined those words said in real terms, during a face to face conversation, and her mind began to open to new contemplation.
The conversation she revisited was between herself and a friend. Her name was Jess, and they’d known each other for years. As all childhood friendships do, it started off as innocent, playful and happy times. At this point in time there were no obligations to abide by the New Law.
Ada made it to her older, youthful years, and things began to change. New friends came onto the scene, with adventure and promise crisp in the air. Despite the evolution of their friendship, it still felt as new as ever, and Ada and Jess carried on as they normally would. They would text, they would phone, and they would catch up over a dusty bottle of wine that was found in Ada’s parent’s garage. It didn’t matter that it tasted like petrol and made them shudder with each sip, because they were free and embracing everything they could.
Their friendship became more text based over time. Life moves on, after all. But the power above took over.
All it took was a simple message from Jess to change the course of their lives, in response to a simple message. That’s cool. Of course, as Ada sat down on her sofa a few years later and mused over an entirely different dilemma, she realised the harmlessness of that text, despite it being far too late.
For some reason in Ada’s mind, where thoughts that were not her own were sitting and waiting, there was something inherently wrong. Where were the playful smiley faces? Or the kisses? Or some enthusiastic punctuation that enforced the mood? Ada didn’t see it that way. How could she, when she believed in the unspoken rules that she learnt from somewhere or nowhere; effortlessly and without knowledge. A New Law: created but not affirmed.
By these laws, Jess no longer cared about Ada.
So, what could Ada do except bow down and accept this defeat? That’s the way it worked. Ada didn’t want to intrude anymore, as that’s what she felt she had done, and so didn’t respond to “That’s cool”. Friends became strangers, and the evil did its job.
The new state of existence that has arisen squeezed all freedom away, catalysed by another New Law, and that was the continuous obligation to share location and activity, with difficulty to avoid. Not only must we abide by the law, we must not be free for a single moment.
This presented a new problem for Ada. Emotional depth and bonding were so entrenched within the law – it was impossible in many instances to gain it without the use of the device, by text, which became evident when Ada began to develop feelings for a man, and in her head it couldn’t go wrong. In person, on the rare instance she would see this man, it lacked in much enjoyment, yet she was taken in by his bright eyes and seductive smile; captivating and exciting. But she realised she looked forward to his texts more than his company, as over text it was an entirely different story. The conversations would always flow and interest Ada, and she found herself falling for this man purely based on this. They would talk about their lives, and Ada would long for his texts, and would develop a rush that most would develop from a first official date.
It was incomprehensible then, as to why when the messages stopped, her heart broke. It was as though she had broken up from him; that he had left her. Why on earth would your heart break for somebody you had only met a handful of times, and why did she never question that that was the way it was?
In the New Law, it was understandable. She had a connection with this man. He knew her. She was broken beyond repair; a crushing blow to her core. Her hopes and dreams that evolved around the texting and communication she had, had been crushed up and thrown away, with only a ghost of a person left. Ada had forgotten what this man’s voice even sounded like. To her, his voice was his text. She was able to see that he was on his device, that he was present in this world, yet was not present in Ada’s world. The bond she believed she had was broken. She wondered why for far too long and made excuses for him that you would make for a man you’d been with properly and for years, not the way Ada was; with a human being, not a robot.
Years later, Ada was free at last, so a lesson was thankfully learned. Ada realised she did not know this man. Nor did she really have feelings for him. The revolution had started within her head; it was a one-person revolt against herself. Wherever the powerhouse was that governed the new thoughts expected of individuals was a mystery, but Ada was empowered with her discovery.
Ada sat on her beige sofa, in a grey and white themed room, and she had the same device. Well… it was slightly newer, but nevertheless the same. Once more, Ada found herself in a predicament, but this time she didn’t follow the law. Picking away at her past, she wondered why on earth she thought she was in love? Texts replaced conversation and time spent, and that kind of love wasn’t real. None of it was real.
When did that happen? Ada often asked herself. How did it become so acceptable to place so much importance onto something that was so cold and emotionless? Reading back a text in her head, she noticed the robotic tones. The human voice was slowly being replaced by nothingness.
It made Ada think about Jess’s message to Ada. “That’s cool”. The New Law told Ada that Jess was not interested. Ada then pictured Jess saying those words to her, as though they’d had that conversation in person, and suddenly that text did not seem as rude as what the New Law told her it did with all the power and control that it had. Jess most likely genuinely said those words with enthusiasm and passion and happiness. Yet it was all missed, because you can’t hear with a text. Only see. And the mind sees what it’s told to see, by the New Law.
Ada sat on the sofa, and to be frank, she was put out. Finally, she was trusting and happy after her heartache from before; she had something real now. Ada liked her reality and enjoyed her non-compliance to the law, yet the loss and scars from her wars with the law still very much visible.
As with all scars, they never disappear. Sometimes, the scars redden and made themselves be seen.
Ada decided to act, and how she decided to act went against the law. She didn’t get upset, as their conversation was not proper. Nor should she have the power to know that he had seen her message; privacy doesn’t exist in the eyes of the New Law. This was the sole cause of the fret that had her sitting in her living room as she was, pondering over her previous encounters in such a way.
Ada responded with a simple message; seemingly hypocritical, but not so.
The message read: Ring me.