The last four days have been a blur. I can feel the walls closing in all around me. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the face looking back at me. I splash some water on my face, or at least I splash water on a face, who’s to say if it’s mine. I don’t know what day it is. I don’t know where I am, I keep getting confused.
My roommate calls my name out from the living room. I don’t respond. Is she talking to me? Those strange sounds coming out of her mouth. “A-man-da.” Is that even a name? Is it a sentence? It can't be me. Is she someone else’s roommate? Am I in the wrong house?
I look around me for visual cues. I glance at the mail chair in the living room (the chair we put mail on). It’s empty. I am in the wrong house. Where are the 17 pieces of paper asking me to vote Jackie F to help save the environment? Where is the plastic-coated door hanger with a high-def image of Carl running for a better tomorrow? Where are you Carl? Did you beat Jackie? Do you still need me? Carl?
The person in the living room won’t stop saying that strange sentence: “A-man-da!” She elongates it, “A-man-da ArE YoU Ok? Why are you on your hands and knees searching under the mail chair (the chair we put mail on).”I think I’m gonna be sick….
“You know it’s a crime to steal people’s mail!” I scream at her, “Where is Carl? What have you done with him? Did he follow up on his promise to ‘shake things up?'” I start to cry. How do I know where I live if I don't have glossy stacks of unread campaign flyers haphazardly placed on a designated chair in my house?
I get up off the floor. How long was I down there? I look at my phone to check the time and…. I don't recognize its content. It has to be a stranger’s phone. The weight and feel are correct, even the screen cracks are in all the right places but… the messages blinking up at me are unrecognizable. They are all from people like “Mom,” “Dad,” and “Hinge Do Not Answer,” not from “Phil with Dems against Prop 21” or “Maybe: Barack Obama.” Where are the thousands of random unsaved numbers wanting to know if they can “count on me this coming November?”
This isn’t my phone, this isn’t my life. Where’s my real phone? Did the stranger in the living room take it? I try responding “unsubscribe” to my mom, and she’s getting angry at me? Phil from Dems against Prop 21 never got angry. Phil fully ignored my request to “STOP” and kept messaging me for weeks, perhaps illegally. Oh Phil.
I sit down on the couch next to the stranger. She’s gone quiet… everything has gone quiet. Have I lost my hearing? The usual Gmail notification hasn't gone off. My inbox once full with rich people begging me for my last $12 to help them fix the government they’ve created, now blank. The sweet refrain of “Hi Amanda, this is the last time I’ll be asking for this,” or “Amanda, your pal here, hoping you will join us in watching the debate tonight, or “Hi Amanda, this is definitely the last time I will be asking for this” has stopped, in its track, was it ever real? Was I real?
And then… I hear it. A notification.
I look down at my cracked screen. An email from Joe Biden.
“Amanda we need you to help us fight these lawsuits. Will you join us by chipping in $7?”
My world comes rushing back to me. My name is Amanda. This is my phone. That is my mail chair. I’m sitting next to my roommate. She looks horrified and confused, oh well. I know who I am again.
My answer is no. No Joe, I can’t chip in $7.