Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rashomon: Text Message

The text message was sent on Monday night, close to midnight. The exact words used in the text message were: “Hey. How’s it going? Want to get a drink sometime soon?” Immediately upon the sending of the text, human minds were sent reeling by the kaleidoscopic multiplicity of possible interpretations, spins, and consequences of this seemingly ordinary string of digital words.

The woodcutter, receiving the text, said to himself, this is definitely sexual. Come on. A drink? Soon? This is a come-on, for sure, said the woodcutter.

But when he showed it to his friend, the traveling priest, suddenly he was not so sure anymore. The priest said, this could totally be just, like, a friend thing. I mean, said the priest, whoever sent this text message knows you are in a relationship. And I don’t think this sounds like a psycho homewrecker’s text. And if it was sent by a homewrecker, well, I don’t think you should go. The woodcutter, who was having serious problems in his current relationship, mulled this over. The priest traveled on.

Next the woodcutter met up with the bandit, in a rainstorm at a ruined gatehouse. He busted out his phone to get the bandit’s take on the text. The bandit said, there is definitely something flirtatious about this, no question. But it feels pretty low-key. I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.

The woodcutter started to feel more relaxed about the whole thing when suddenly he realized that the samurai’s wife had been standing there silently, watching them, the whole time. She looked intently at the cell phone and said, that message, and this whole innocuous indiscretion thing you have going on with this person, is dangerous, and it may spell the downfall of your current, long-term relationship. Then she jumped up into a tree, crouching tiger style.

The woodcutter’s hands started to sweat. He still didn’t know whether, or what, to text back. Finally the samurai himself jumped out of the bushes, screaming. He grabbed the phone out of the woodcutter’s hand and said, this message was sent close to midnight! It was a drunk dial! You don’t even know if the person who sent it, like, totally regrets it right now! And then he threw the phone in a silent, moonless lake. It sunk to the bottom without a ripple. The woodcutter bowed to the samurai, and the samurai struck the woodcutter soundly about the head, which is a traditional way of waking someone up to enlightenment.


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