The Light From Her Phone
A Short Story
She was distracted.
Every couple of seconds, her eyes would dart towards her phone.
During momentary breaks from our conversations, she would pick up her phone and reply messages, take a selfie and record videos.
It looked like she was on Snapchat most of the time. The incessant notification from the app would sound off almost every five minutes.
I was supposed to be used to the trend of people obsessively checking on their phones in person and during conversations. Reading articles about people addicted to their phones doesn’t make an impact until you actually take a step back and see it in person for yourself.
I had been worried that the emergence of social media apps would affect most of our attention spans. It looked like I was right for the most part.
I had no idea who she was talking to on Snapchat. Or who she was constantly posting pictures and videos to. She seemed to revel in it though. Smiling as she read messages and looked at pictures and videos.
Maybe it’s an age thing or maybe I’m just not the social media type. I’m the guy who still favors the eye contact and physical conversations compared to the constant use of heart and laughing emojis.
The most I managed to get from our conversation was that she was an aspiring writer. She was still trying to finish up school and then maybe start a business with one of her friends selling clothes on Instagram.
“Hey. What’s your handle on Instagram?”, she asked.
My Instagram profile was full of pictures of scenery and personal things of interest. You could expect looks of horizons, sunsets, and other things which maybe be a bit different than the average IG account.
I’m convinced that Instagram is 80% women.
“You have pretty pictures”, she said as she double-tapped the screen which made the heart animation show up on a picture, indicating that she liked it.
I guessed I asked for her IG handle. It felt impolite not to ask since she had asked for mine. She told me her handle and I typed it on my phone. The gallery of selfies and poses in different stances when I visited her profile were as suspected.
I had no judgment. It was something that most girls did on their Instagram pages.
“Are you on Snapchat?” she asked.
“Um…not really. I don’t really like Snapchat” I answered.
“Well…I just think it’s useless. I don’t get the point of posting something and having it disappear in 24 hours”.
“Yeah…but it’s fun sometimes”.
Her and my definition of “fun” were obviously different.
I tried to get back to our conversation on her future aspirations. I asked what would she do if her Instagram store didn’t work out.
“Umm…I’m not sure. Maybe I could try and intern at a company”.
A sound came from her phone. She just got a Snapchat notification.
“I’m trying to talk to this guy about getting a gig and hopefully get paid for it,” she said as she picked up her phone and replied to the message.
On the car ride back to her place, the light from her phone screen was constant. I didn’t really want to start a conversation that was not going to be paid attention to half of the time. I decided not to bother.
I just replied in the affirmative or negative when she asked an opinion on conversations she was having on her phone
I dropped her off, said good night and back home.
Over the next couple of days, I would text her and check-up, trying to see if we could maybe set up another meetup. I was hoping that the first impressions from our first meeting were just a one-off.
The replies were never consistent. The conversations were never coherent. I decided to redownload the Snapchat app and see what I was missing. I check out her Snaps.
Random pictures. Random videos.
Eventually, I just stopped texting her.
One day, I got a text saying she needed help with something and wanted to know if I would be interested.
I didn’t bother to reply. She never followed up.