Ever notice how phone cameras make you all nose? In real life, you’re human; on camera you’re a rat begging for treats.
This is me in the hallway, all nose.
On a scale of one to heeeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny, how creepy are those specs?
A funny thing happened the other day. I forgot to mention it because that was the same day I got trapped in the lobby, but here it is: somebody butt-dialled my entire building. They switched on the intercom and broadcast a dull little conversation to all four hundred and four units.
(It’s funny there are four hundred and four units. Like a 404 error. Not found.)
Anyway, I made a transcript, and this is what I heard:
“—you go, then you go, then at the bottom. At the bottom. No, all the way….”
[distant, creepy laughter, like yaha-aaaaaaa]
“It’s easy, but you, no. No, you’re—” [static]
[shuffling sounds. A cell-phone ping. A deathwatch beetle clicking its mandibles (?); more static.]
“Well, it looks really technical, but once you, uh, it’s really just the one argument repeated, and you do it again. You do it again. And you can’t leave off the [something] at the end of the line. That’s the easiest mistake. I used to, uh—“
[More laughter. A pokkity rattling sound, like an empty plastic bottle falling on the floor. Static, indistinct muttering, maybe someone typing. I don’t know.]
“I think you just get used to it. You get used to it. You do.”
[Brief silence, ghostly lamentations (???), a burst of static. End transmission.]
…so I was thinking, wouldn’t it be heinous if aliens reached out—like, sentient ones, ones we’d want to talk to—but they butt-dialled our solar system, and we got something like that? Oh, and if we spent years decoding their message, and it went like “I did pick up the doughnuts. No, I did. Yes, I’m sure. Yes, I remember you telling me, and that’s why I did it. Check the fridge, why don’t you? Check the—you know what? I’m busy. I’m doing stuff. If the doughnuts are gone—if they’re…I don’t know what to tell you. I think there’s tuna left over. Don’t put it in the microwave. [alien profanity]”
We’ve probably done it ourselves, by now, sent something foolish into space. Didn’t we send a Hitler speech? I seem to remember a Hitler speech winging its way across the galaxy. And there’s probably some nerdlinger beaming his D&D podcast who knows where…and maybe some distant dweeb following along, wishing he could join…. (But he’s six million years in the future. There’s nobody left on Earth.)
If you’re an alien reading this, and I’m long-dead, do you know a way to bring me back? Is that…can you reconstitute a consciousness long-scattered? Will it be me, or just a copy? If you can revive me, not a clone, not a copy, I’d like to meet you. I’d like to see the future and find out what became of us. Just, please don’t make me your pet. I don’t want to be a pet.