“Just the one today?”
Yvette nodded. She had been known to buy two in the past. A desperate attempt at keeping up appearances, but she knew the second one always ended up in her trash. It was a waste of money and who did she think she was kidding? The cashier knew she always came here alone and she always left alone. And buying a second slice never made her feel less lonely. If anything, seeing that poor, rejected pizza sitting in her trashcan just made her feel more lonely – the discarded pizza seemed to embody how she felt. She was tempted to take a picture of it (OK, don’t tell anyone, but she had taken a picture of it. It was still sitting on her phone and she would sometimes open up the file and look at it), but how sad would that be?
So Yvette took her single slice of pizza and didn’t even wait until she got home to start munching on it.
As she walked, she couldn’t help but overhear two women who were chatting as they walked behind her.
“I don’t trust those things. You just know they’re listening in.”
“They are not.”
“Of course they are. Just the other day Josh and I were talking about how nice it would be if our floors just vacuumed themselves. The next day I got a pop-up ad for one of those little Roomba things.”
“Oh, that’s just how life goes. You think you’ve never heard of something, and then one day you think of it and you start seeing it everywhere. That’s just basic psychology.”
“No. It’s stalking. They were listening in on our conversation and they used what they heard to try to sell us something. I tell you, I’m getting rid of my smartphone. I’m getting one of those old-fashioned flip phones that were so popular for about 30 seconds.”
“Well, just make sure I have your new number, so I can get a hold of you.”
The two women rounded a corner and Yvette pondered their conversation as she continued on her way home, still munching on her pizza.
When Yvette got home (the pizza now gone), she took out her own smartphone and just looked at it. Finally, she gave a tentative, “Hello?”
“Can you hear me?”
“Test 1, 2, 3.” Yvette sang one of the opening lines to “The Tango Maureen” from Rent. Still no response.
She wasn’t sure what she had been expecting. The woman hadn’t said anything about anyone talking back through the phone, just that they were listening so they would know what ads to show. Most people didn’t even know someone was listening to them on the other end of their smartphone.
But Yvette knew.
“I didn’t buy a second slice of pizza today,” she said into the phone. She wasn’t sure why she started talking about that. It was just the first thing that popped into her head. “I used to buy two pieces. To give the illusion that the second piece was for someone else, but really I would just take it home and throw it away. It was such a waste. Maybe next time I’ll buy two pieces and eat both of them. I might as well get fat. Who would care? It’s not like I have a boyfriend or husband to look good for?”
Yvette just kept talking. She talked as she got ready for bed, and as she climbed between the sheets, she put the phone on the pillow next to her and talked herself to sleep. She couldn’t remember the last time she had slept so soundly.
To be continued…