Public transportation is a new experience for Amber. So is not having access to a cell phone. Luckily, a classmate named Jason is there to help. During their travel, Amber quickly learns that her perspectives on life aren’t quite the same as her peers. As they make their way home, they try to break down the foundation of their social structure in this exciting prequel to Five High School Dialogues.
Act I – Bus Stop
Amber arrives at the bus stop in a state of disarray as she tries to convince her nanny to pick her up before her phone dies. Jason is seated reading a book while he takes an interest in the loud nature of Amber’s conversation. Amber looks to Jason for help, as she is rather clueless with regard to public transportation.
Amber: Carmen, I don’t know when the bus is coming. Or even if it’s coming. It’s awful. You don’t understand how long it’s been since I had to ride one of these things. Well, maybe you would understand if you listened to a word I said. But you need to come get me. No, I can’t manage. I’m going to get lost. You know that. Ugh. Stop. I’m scared. Well, I could be. You’d never know. What do you mean you have errands to run? Do them tomorrow. Father won’t care. He only cares about me and you must make sure that I’m all right. That should be your number one priority. It is the only thing that matters. Hold on, my phone is making beeping noises. Crap. Carmen, can you hear me? Carmen? Ugh, dead battery. Stupid father didn’t get me the upgrade when it was first available. I told him these phones need to be replaced every year because the battery never lasts. Now look at me. Can I borrow your phone? I need to make an important phone call?
Jason: I don’t have one, sorry.
Amber: What do you mean you don’t have one? Is this like when someone asks you for a stick of gum and you lie because you don’t want to give them one? It’s not funny. Please let me use it. This is serious.
Jason: I was being serious. I don’t have a cell phone.
Amber: How is that even possible?
Jason: It’s simple really. I’m a freshman. I don’t need one. There’s a payphone a few blocks down that way, but I’m pretty sure it’s out of commission.
Amber: What is this, 2008? I got my cell phone in 7th grade. Everyone who’s anyone has one.
Jason: Well, I don’t so I don’t know what to tell you. I know plenty of people who don’t. My friends that do don’t have the fancy kind like the one you’ve got there.
Amber: Well, then how do they go on Instagram?
Jason: What’s that? Oh, isn’t that the picture website?
Amber: You’re kidding right?
Jason: I thought that was what you might want me to say. I’m joking, I know all about it. Here let me dig my phone out of its gold encrusted case. Oh dear. I must have left it in my other backpack. The one with the diamonds.
Amber: I’m so confused.
Jason. Backtrack then. To the website with the pictures and those things that make them look all fancy. Like a Photoshop for cell phones?
Amber: Oh dear God!
Jason: Am I mistaken?
Amber: It’s not a website. It’s an app. You look at it on your phone. There’s a difference.
Jason: Can you look at it on a computer?
Amber: You can look at it, but you can’t post anything unless it’s from a cell phone.
Jason: So what’s the difference?
Amber: Clearly not something you could ever understand. This stuff is important to know.
Jason: If you say so. Names are important too. Mine’s Jason.
Amber: How am I supposed to remember that?
Jason: It’s not a particularly unusual name. The J’s aren’t particularly well represented. Guess one of those and you’ll come close enough. There’s no one else around anyway.
Amber: No, I mean, how am I supposed to remember who you are?
Jason: I don’t follow.
Amber: You see, if you had a cell phone, I could put your number in and look at your photos and text you and then in a couple weeks after the memories of this bench were in the distant past, I could still remember who you are. A lot of work goes into remembering someone and you’re not making it easy with your lack of technology, mister.
Jason: Or you could just remember that we go to the same school and that we once sat on a bench together. Does that make sense?
Amber: How do you know we go to school together?
Jason: I’ve seen you around. Don’t look so surprised.
Amber: Stalker much?
Jason: Whatever. At least I don’t need to use a cell phone to remember a face.
Amber: I don’t need one, it just makes things easier. Psh. Wait. Do we have a class together?
Jason: I don’t know. Why don’t you check your phone?
Amber: I can’t. It’s dead.
Jason: I was joking.
Ian Thomas Malone is an author and a yogi from Greenwich, CT. He
is a graduate of Boston College, where he founded The Rock at Boston
College. He is the grandson of noted Sherlockian scholar Colonel John Linsenmeyer. Ian has published thousands of articles on diverse subjects such as popular culture, baseball, and social commentary.
His favorite things to post on social media are pictures of his golden retriever Georgie and his collection of stuffed animals. Ian believes firmly that “there’s more to life than books you know, but not much more,” a quote from his hero Morrissey. When he’s not reading, writing, or teaching yoga, he can probably be found in a pool playing water polo. He aspires to move to the Hundred Acre Wood someday, though he hopes it has wi-fi by then.
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