“Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!”
(“Antigonish” by William Hughes Mearns)
I can sympathise with the man who wasn’t there. Yesterday I discovered that I do not exist. This has caused me endless complications.
I started the day as usual with a quick check of my bank account. I opened my ancient desktop computer, nearly a year old and well out of date. I put in my account number and my secret code, known only to myself, my wife, my children and grandchildren, the bank staff and a hacker somewhere in the Ukraine.
The response was immediate. A code, yes another one, has been sent to your mobile. I reached for it; it rarely leaves my hand. But to no avail, it was nowhere to be found.
This was not good. I have an app for finding my car, my house, the nearest coffee shop. I even have an app for finding various parts of my body, all still attached I hasten to add, but I have no app for finding the phone.
Even my slow desktop was getting impatient. Enter code — now, it said, none too politely. But I was not quick enough and after a few moments, the message came up loud and clear — User does not exist.
I might need to sit down. Normally, my trusted smartphone would be keeping an eye on my heart rate and blood pressure, and, if they were too high, direct me to the nearest chair. The camera would be checking that any rise was medical and not just my seeing, over the garden fence, the blonde from next door. If it seemed that these vital signs were too low, my phone would show me a picture of the blonde from next door, purely for medical reasons, of course.
On the verge of panic, another refrain from the distant past popped into my head.
One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow.
One man and his dog, Spot, a bottle of pop, his Smartphone, and the girl next door
Went to mow a meadow.
Well, perhaps in the original there had been no Smartphone but we must keep up with the times.
This was clearly a message from my subconscious. This is a part of my mind of which I am not fully aware, but which influences both my actions and my feelings. I don’t have a dog; my garden is hardly a meadow and I am steering well clear of the girl next door. But I do have a bottle of pop; I put it in the fridge just last night.
I flung open the fridge door and there, nestling comfortably among the frozen peas, was the proof of my existence — my smartphone. I didn’t need to turn it on, I never turn it off just in case, in a fit of spite, it would turn me off as well. I pointed its camera at my face and was rewarded with the message – Facial recognition positive; Welcome back Roger. Proof positive that I exist.
I look forward to further proof of my existence when sales of my books, the Len Palmer Mysteries, begin to skyrocket.