Incoming video call, by Pilar Garcés

The worst thing is not that I call you a telemarketer with soap opera voice when you’ve fallen asleep in your nap, with the soap opera in the background. The worst are not four audio messages followed by more than five minutes long by someone who wants something from you, but won’t reveal it until the end of the last one. Nor what join you in chats that you don’t care about, nor that those you care about never call you, nor that you do not understand half of the messages truffled with predictive keyboard errors. The last hell on the phone consists of support other people’s video calls. What a longing for those times when someone would sit next to you, mobile at the ready and force you to listen to their stupid conversation. In such a tormenting situation you had the consolation of having no idea who was on the other side. A single rude being who speaks loudly on a bus, putting a cue in every other word is more than enough. At best, a string of monosyllables. Or a nice talk that allows you to imagine stories with the mystery of an unknown interlocutor. It is not the case of shouting communication from the lady stuffed into the tracksuit who stands behind you as you walk to work, screen at the ready, to talk to someone who looks so much like her that it must be her sister.

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“It’s a beautiful day and I’m walking by the sea,” he shouts while shaking the phone, which breaks, without taking his eyes off the screen or looking at the sea, or at those who have the misfortune to walk on the sidewalk in opposite direction and they have to maneuver so as not to be run over. “What do you say? What do you say? That you are not understood! ” “Where are you?” Replies the other. “I can’t hear you well, this phone doesn’t have good coverage!”, She counterattacks, stroking her arms and picking up her pace, perhaps because she saw you take four long strides to try to get away from her, red with annoyance behind the mask. “I do not see you! Put the camera in front of your face! ”, Replies the sister, who now only glimpses her chin in a low angle shot and the lapels of a Pyrenean dressing gown. «I don’t see you either, but I’m walking by the sea! What have you said? Yesterday this phone had coverage and it no longer has coverage », insists the woman, who now invade the bike lane trying to improve its connection to the satellite. “I ask you how the weather’s been there, that here in La Vileta cool, but good,” you hear. “Of course, it is more humid here because of the sea!” The sisters of the video call that is serving to waste time and the other does not look at the Mediterranean live in the same city, twenty minutes away and surely they would not need technology to hear the screams they give. The idea of ​​making a conventional call does not cross their imagination. “What if you said something, that the screen has been blocked and you with your face all crooked!”, Asks one. The other looks around looking for some complicity to complain about the bad coverage, taking advantage of the fact that a red traffic light has cut me off and shakes the device. «Of course, it’s that I’m moving, that must be why you can’t see me! I’m calling you as I walk by the sea! Do you hear me? And now? », He exclaims, placing the phone above his head. «That nothing, that there is no way. What a beautiful weather, hey! ».

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