Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who's In Your Surprise 5?

It seemed like a good offer even before I understand what it really was. T-Mobile changed my life.

The offer said, friendly white letters in a wry font inside a lavender capsule like always: "GET UNLIMITED CALLS TO ANY 5 PEOPLE!"

Immediately signed up for it and realized as my phone started ringing that the plan meant just that: I could make unlimited calls to any 5 people - that is, any 5 people randomly selected by T-Mobile.

Meanwhile, I had been randomly assigned to other callers. It was a long night.

That's how I met Simon Grayzone, a research fellow at the Garang Institute of Vegetarian Husbandry. He was filling out a Peace Corps application and could not bring himself to sign it and send it in, but he kept it with him at all times. He was also working on a doctoral thesis on something called hypothetical determinism, which he was never able to define.

A few phone calls later and Griselda Hassenroth had entered the picture. Griselda preferred to speak in sentences without verbs. She found most verbs very forward in the least, if not downright rude. As a result her speech always sounded something like haiku. In her mouth, "call me" became, "You. Me. The phone. Good." That means call her.

Philip Pressurebog was incredulous that among HIS "Surprise 5" he had drawn his own mother. T-Mobile insisted this was just a staggering coincidence, that she was in fact a random choice. Philip was firmly convinced that T-Mobile was lying to him and his mother had arranged the whole thing. T-Mobile gave him 250 free minutes. Philip is an X-Box mystic. You cannot beat him at any game.

Amerigo Talbott was slowly working his way up the corporate ladder at a Swiss-owned merchant banking firm, and was known for padding around his office in his socks. Socks with bunnies. He was a ruthless negotiator.

Cleomatra Alvarez had lost her job as a bank teller because she kept handing money back to her customers. "It's the weekend," she would say. "You need to have more fun." One man took her advice and met a woman he proposed to, never telling her that she was his first romantic kiss at age 39. He proposed to her in Battery Park near a homeless Navy veteran who immediately offered to pronounce them man and wife, as he considered Manhattan to be his ship. Cleo now worked as a mail carrier and had bad dreams about a menacing dog on her route.

The fifth was Tenzin Gesundheit, an exiled Tibetan lama who made butter candles and dreamed of a well-armed pacifist brigade that could defend itself with deadly force. He and Simon frequently talk into the night.

They talk into the night because we all live together now. We rented a house and cook omelettes and rotate chores and have a wonderful relationship.

I'm thinking of getting rid of my phone.

1 comment:

Hal Johnson said...

Ha! That was tasty.