“Response rate: 100%” by Julia at her desk

Thursday April 26, 2018
6:54am
5 minutes
poparide.com

If you call me and I can’t pick up but I CALL YOU RIGHT BACK
as in I do not let you finish your voicemail
as in your phone should still be open on my number
can I just ask one little question?
WHERE THE EFF ARE YOU?
Seconds have past
Has the urgency left?
Are you passed out, dead, on the phone with someone else?
Is your ringer on?
Would you like to join the conversation?
Here’s my two cents
People who call you and then have their phone on silent
shouldn’t be allowed to own a phone
They have classes for driving a car
And if you don’t pass, you don’t drive
You should have to take a test for the use of your dinky cell phone
“Oh I don’t know how that happened, that’s weird, it was in my pocket”
I don’t want to have to wait to talk to you
if I call you I am CALLING YOU
but if you don’t pick up I will be on the phone with someone else
because you forfeit the right to speak with me and I have shit to discuss
I hope you’re not dead

“It seems to me an awfully silly thing” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday October 17, 2017

8:47pm

5 minutes

The Mystery of the Blue Train Agatha Christie

I go to pick up his phone right, to go through it and shit? See he’s been pissing me off lately, chuckling to himself, constantly being on his stupid Instagram laughing at god knows whose feed. So I’m like, watch me destroy his life with a click and a swipe and delete delete delete. The first thing that pops up is his alarm. Like why is this interesting, I don’t know, but I’m there. I’m in it. I’m detective what’s his nuts. No, fuck Sherlock, I’m freaking Harriet the spy over here. Anyway I’m like, looking through, like when does this idiot need to wake up? 6:35am? Fine. And then an alarm for 7:35am. Okay. And then one for 8:35am. And 9:35am, like buddy, you’re already late what is the point of all these alarms an hour apart and like, 25 to? So I’m not even on his Instagram and I’m just scrolling and he comes out of the washroom like, what are you doing with my phone? And I’m like, these alarms—and he’s like, uhh uhh you weren’t supposed to see those.

“keep this info handy” by Julia at her desk


Sunday August 20, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
the Shaw pamphlet

Mom gives me the phone card passcode so I can call Nanna in Berlin. She lives there now. She said it’s nicer than Whitby. I tell her that I probably don’t have time to call her cause I have finals this week and she doesn’t let me finish my sentence. She doesn’t think school is a good excuse not to do anything. Probably because she only finished the 8th grade. Probably because she knows when I’m talking out of my ass. Mom tells me to keep that info handy and maybe taake a photo of it on my new fancy icamera. I tell her it’s not an icamera, it’s an iphone, and it’s not fancy, it’s a 4s, and life is not as easy as she thinks.
When I ask Mom why she cares so much if I call Nanna or not, she laughs for longer than is necessary and comfortable. “If you have kids,” she says, “and they don’t call me, I will always blame their mother first.”

“you called me at 5:30, said you couldn’t sleep” by Julia on the 99


Monday August 7, 2017
10:36pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

The phone buzzes beside my dreams and I think for a sleep second (which in real life is like, 100 wisps of sand) that you are dying and I am the only one who can love you when you’re dying. I can’t give you money but I can give you that. You want a soft arm to hold when the sky opens up? I can be that for you.
When my body alerts me to wake up (and I always wake up) there is a voicemail from you saying that you can’t sleep. My internal clock knows when it’s time to reach you. It knows 5am like a rock in a shoe.

“My unexpressed anger at nothing in particular.” by Julia on Jessica’s air mattress


Saturday July 15, 2017
8:33am
5 minutes
No one belongs here more than you.
Miranda July


I throw my phone across the room, breaking the corner and exposing the LCD screen. I am now angry at myself for wrecking a thing I needed. I am always wrecking things I need.
I didn’t want to talk to him this morning in the first place but when he calls my heart double dutches just like it used to so I answer because I am a creature of habit and likely synchronicity.
I don’t know how I choose this terrible mood over all the other moods, but this is the one I’m wearing like a hazmat suit. It’s bulky and oversized and it knocks people over if it gets too close. I even use sarcasm when I can tell I have pierced him. I am nowhere close to okay with that.

“Part of the explanation” by Julia on F’s couch


Friday June 9, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail

I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.

Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
She laughs.
Then later she cries.
We both do.

“I had some excellent excuses for letting go of that wheel” by Julia on the expo line


Wednesday April 19, 2017
6:18pm
5 minutes
Year Of Yes
Shonda Rhimes


I turned my phone off thinking I would get some me time in-some r&r, a personal party, you know, the good stuff. I was so proud of myself for unplugging that I forgot I was expected to answer not one phone call, but four different ones. I don’t know how I did it. They said No One Needs To Be Reached At All Times, but I did, in fact, need to be reached at all times! I needed to be reached by the woman who was taking over my job in two weeks, by my bank because of the credit card fraud, by the company that might not hire the person I was supposed to be a reference for, and by the dermatologist who casually dropped that the bump on my head might not be a benign fibroma afterall.

“Does this one need closure too?!” By Julia on the 99


Sunday February 5, 2017
11:34pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Quebec and west Broadway

“Does this one need closure too?” Lara bellowed, incredulous that she was getting another phone call after just exclaiming how “done” she was. Kya snatched Lara’s phone put of her hand and jogged a few feet away, leaving one of her hands up as defense against her ever fuming friend. “Ask her if she wants a reason! Ask her!” Lara was pressing her thumbnail into her forefinger to keep her from biting off her own tongue. She wanted to feel blood.
“Tell her that she’s not welcome in this friendship anymore-tell her that and to go love herself!”
Kya shook her head emphatically from side to side and turned her back.

“bring it with me” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday January 17, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
From an email

I leave my dig-
nity on your
futon under
the fit-
ted sheet
with the
stain on
the lower
right corner.

I put my
underwear
in my coat
pocket and
pray that I
have a five
dollar bill
in there
to keep them
company
to hold
their tired
hand.

I buy a coffee
at the shop
that also
does photo-
copies and
lamination.

I realize
that I forgot
my phone on
the floor
beside your
futon and
I wonder
what might
be worse
buying a
new phone
or seeing
you again?

“so that we can contact you” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 4, 2016
9:46pm
5 minutes
from a contest information sheet

Paulette: Yeah, that’s just the thing, you give them one high five and they’ve already saved your phone number to their contacts list and found you on Facebook! Ha ha ha, you know it’s true! You’re jus–we could be having lunch tomorrow you’re right–no we won’t! Definitely not and–okay you too. No you too, I mean it. Goodnight Jerry. Goodnight. Goodnight.

Paulette throws her cellphone into the waste bin beside her bed. She tightens the belt on her robe and pulls the flask out of her gym bag.

“The secret of remaining young” By Julia on Lindsay’s Couch


Saturday August 13, 2016
7:12am
5 minutes
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde


Mom calls me to tell me about her trip tells me all about the seaside
And how people don’t care
That North America has judgments about women’s bodies and women’s
Minds
She tells me that she bought
Her first bikini
In 15 years
And that she loves it
And that she’s decided
She no longer cares
About the rules
Either
Mom tells me about her trip
How she listened to her body
Instead of punishing it
How she gave her skin a chance
How she smiled more than before
How people told her how good
She looked
And how shocking that
Was
And how nice that is
And how maybe she has
Finally
Let herself believe them
Because they are right
Because she has put the hard work in
Because she has unlocked her heart
And freed her inner child
Mom tells me about he trip
About her journey to find
peace
And how on the way
She found a whole lot more
Inside herself
Than she meant to

“Why do we do that?” By Sasha on the Spadina Streetcar


Thursday, August 13, 2015
11:24pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the Spadina streetcar

Do you feel lost without your cellphone?
Literally?
Figuratively?
Do you long for the weight of it in your hand, your pocket, your purse, like you might long for a lover or a brownie?
Do you crave to look at it, to check it, to search with it, to move with it?
When do you put it down? Turn it off? Let it go?
Never?
Ever?
Do you shut it down when you shut down? Do you let it rest?
When do you say good morning?
Is it the first thing you look at? Speak to? Connect with?
One new Facebook friend, three new “Likes”, seven Twitter followers, two re-tweets, a text, five emails, a voicemail.
“Hi, it’s Dad. Just calling to say it was so good to see you and I love you.”
“Hey, it’s me. When are you coming over? Do you need dinner?”
“Hi! I heard you’re in town! Welcome back home! Wanna get coffee?”
A voice.
How does it work? No wires, waves, maybe, sound waves, web waves, waves like the ocean but in the sky, searching, searching, searching.
Touch screen, touch fingers, touch bellies.

“we thought we’d play a little trick” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday February 25, 2015
9:51pm
5 minutes
Betty and Veronica Double Digest
The Archie Library 215


You played a trick on me – running like there was something chasing. I’m being chased but that’s the funny thing, that’s the strange thing, you’re not chasing, you’re TRICKING. Every time you say, “I’m not”, you mean “I am”. TRICK! Every time you touch my face, gentle like dew, you say, “I’m here”, you mean “I’m gone”. TRICK! And then I do the inevitable thing of looking at your phone BEEPING all the damn time and there are names I don’t know there, so many names, S names and L names and M names and O names and I’m overcome with the TRICK and the TRICK tastes like garbage. I do the inevitable thing of pretending. Now I’m the TRICKSTER! I pretend I didn’t see the S and the L and the M and the O and you pretend you didn’t see them either and we’re both so fucking good at pretending, we’re the TOP TRICKSTERS, we’d get the gold and the silver and the bronze.

“Try and make a few local friends” by Julia on her couch


Monday August 18, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
girlinflorence.com

My motha, she calls me in the middle of the night. She tells me, Keltie, don’t be that girl. I am not that girl, whatever girl she thinks I am, so I say, motha, please, don’t lump me into that group, for the love of christ. She says, Keltie, I don’t want you to be one of those loser girls who sits on her computer all day checking e-mails and how to blogs about growing vegetables indoors but doesn’t actually buy the seeds to do it. I have to take a moment to think about that one, but she doesn’t stop talking. You know, Keltie, you’ve got to be ahead of the crowd and ahead of yourself. Don’t try and hide behind your looks because you’re not fooling anyone and one day someone other than me is going to expect you to actually do something. I’m sitting up in my bed chugging a glass of day old water, trying to watch the tiny fuzz particles as they hid my teeth. I’m staring at the mirror. I’m plucking out stray hairs on inner thigh, fucking Carla forgot to get those white ones we talked about. Yes, uh-huh, I’m still here, I tell her, but she’s hardly even listening. You want to be one of those sad girls who doesn’t make any friends? Keltie? Promise me you’re going to get drunk at least once so you have the confidence to talk to someone other than your vagina. Ma! My vagina? What fresh hell is this conversation right now? She doesn’t answer for the first time. Promise me, Keltie.

“with MOSS FOLK” by Julia at Kawaii Crepe


Thursday August 7, 2014 at Kawaii Crepe
8:38pm
5 minutes
from the Wooden Shjips concert ticket


I’ve been sitting here with a patch of dead skin in my hands. I thought you would have noticed that my legs were peeling because some of the shapes looked like your favourite states: Minnesota, Alabama, Missouri. You didn’t say one thing about it, so I kept slowly detaching the snake-like-shreds, trying to keep them as long and intact as possible. Like orange peels. Like the backing of a press on tattoo. I guess I was looking for some attention, or to prove to myself that you cared about me and my well-being. I wondered if you wondered why I had burnt skin to begin with. If you thought to ask and discovered that I scalded my legs in a hot bath, if you’d wonder why anyone would think to take a hot bath in the middle of July. I don’t usually do that kind of thing. It just sort of happened as a result of my endless time alone and my desire to feel like anything but myself. Granted, I did feel a little like Virginia Woolf. I wondered if you’d wonder about that part…

“any kind of company” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday July 29, 2014
4:37pm
5 minutes
wikipedia.org

She swept the living room floor for the third time that morning. She somehow kept stepping in sand, which she thought she had fully cleaned the day before. She put on The Dirty Projectors and made sure to press repeat every time Impregnable Question came on. It felt like the perfect song to listen as she was feeling alone, yet didn’t want to fall too far into a problematic state. This was after eating the raw cookie dough from the tube and drawing a sketch of a bat wearing a clown nose. Every time her phone rang, she leapt from her sprawled out on the floor position to see who it could be. Telemarketing usually. The occasional scam rewards program from Cruises R Us. She was desperate for any kind of company. Any kind that would require a conversation, the outpouring of her emotions and her opinions, and perhaps a hug that would last at least six seconds to ensure a proper connection was established.

“Homicidal computer” by Julia on her couch


Thursday June 19, 2014
10:20pm
5 minutes
CBC News

killing me waiting on me to fold to fold over to bend to bend over and go and go somewhere so i can’t tell the time the time to wait to be killed or the time to wait to be kept alive
alive
yeah she said that it was fast
on the phone
in an e-mail
i deleted it
deleted it all and all of it was killed
killed slowly
there was someone there giving directions to the parking lot
the parking lot of empty promises
drive away drive away away
and then i said i love you to no on in particular in particular
winding down and out and in and over and the time is out it’s running running
got on its kicks, its nike new balance its do it now it’s doing it something like that or something or other
and it’s still running because time runs it doesn’t crawl it doesn’t beg it doesn’t plead it doesn’t wait
it kills and kills and kills
i’m here on the mend on the mend and up and out bigger better things and bigger better moments
yeah he said that it was quick
on the phone
in an e-mail
i deleted it
deleted it all and all of it came right back
can’t escape the motions the slogans the misused lotions the potions the daily quotients

“allow my worlds to collide” by Julia at the Arts And Culture Centre in NL


Thursday March 27, 2014 at The Arts And Culture Centre in NL
1:15am
5 minutes
from The Pillowman program in St St. John’s NL

I had a moment of desperation when the zipper on my jacket busted. And I was standing in a wind storm. And you were far away from me. And I couldn’t even call you if I wanted to. That’s when I knew that if I didn’t have you, I would have, cheesy as it sounds, nothing. You were around whenever I needed you to be. And I didn’t hold on tightly enough because I didn’t think I had to. You did everything right. And I didn’t understand what that might have meant until I was left searching for some semblance of your spirit. I went through every old purse, hoping I had a photo of you somewhere. Why didn’t I print any photos of you? Why didn’t I do that? I should have known better. When your phone crashes or your computer explodes, you realize how many things you should have backed up. I should have backed you up. And I think I mean that figuratively and literally cause if I had just reminded myself of how great you were, and stood on your team every chance I got, I wouldn’t be left wishing for anything. Because I would still have you. You would be right here. And I would have someone to hold me.

“The thing is this, Eddie,” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake


Monday, July 29, 2013
12:00am
5 minutes
Jack Maggs
Peter Carey


Eddie and I were roommates in university. I was already moved in when Eddie arrived in a red Chevy pick-up, his Daddy-oh behind the wheel. Two years later I asked him about that. “Is your father’s name Oliver? Or, Oratio?” Eddie looked at me like I was the crazy one. “Nope…” He furrowed his brow and rolled his eyes at the same time, a skill he’d perfected growing up with three older sisters. “So, is Daddy-oh, just, like a pet name? It’s not referring to an actual “O”?” I pressed on. Eddie closed the book he was reading, something I can’t remember the name of, The Semantic of… something or other. “Daddy-oh was just… what we called him – “ “He’s not dead, Eddie! You still call him that! I heard you talking to him on the phone last night! Get your tenses straight!” I couldn’t believe that I’d had such an outburst. And about the English language, no less! Eddie narrowed his eyes. “What’s really going on here, Robert,” he said, taking that tone that only someone pursuing a Masters in Psychology and Social Work could. “Nothing!” I slammed my fist down on the library table, garnering wicked glares and a communal “Shhhh!” from the students the surrounded us. “Sorry,” I said, partially to them but mostly to Eddie, who was so patient with my temper and insolence.

“You know full well” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday, December 9, 2012
10:56pm
5 minutes
First Kiss
Brian Doyle


Any decent guy would have called me back. I’m serious. Decency is like archaic right now. It’s like, extinct or something. Don’t people always say that? That decency is dead? Well it is. It’s like, more dead than that other thing that people also say is dead. I’m just pissed you know? Anyone who knows me, knows that when I put on my mascara, it’s go time. I don’t usually wear it that much, but like, when I do, that’s it. I’m going out, someone good looking is going to see me, the night is going to be the best and last forever, and I’m going to feel really good about myself. But like, last night, I got all ready, I was looking amazing, and Dan was supposed to call me back to sort out our plans or whatever, and I’m like, buddy, just call me back because I need to know the status. And he could have. But he didn’t. So do I not sit there the entire night just waiting for the phone to ring so I have an excuse to make use of the mascara I already carefully applied? Of course. I just sit and wait and watch Easy A on Netflix while I’m like, hoping Dan has the DECENCY to return my call and simply say whether or not he’s willing to brave this effing snow storm to come pick me up so we can go to the Ballroom and effing dance/bowl the entire night. But no. He could have, he should have, but he didn’t. So now I’m like, locking him out. I’m locking him out to punish him for this waste of a Friday that he caused. And if he wants to like, get back in, then whatever about him, he can CALL ME.