The overworked guy at the cell phone store on Friday recommended that I not buy a new phone at the store. "It's cheaper if we send it to you. You'll get it Wednesday." Hmmm. How much cheaper? I thought I needed a phone for the interim period. He dug around under the counter where he had a supply of used phones and found one that seemed to work. He popped my SIM chip in (whatever that is), fired up the thing, and said, "Ta da. You can borrow this phone."
My SIM chip apparently has my phone number in it, so any phone with that chip in it will show up on people's caller ID as me. And it had a few stored text messages of mine in it. No phone numbers. The cell phone store guy thought he was being triumphant as he read me addresses in the phone: Alex, Amanda, Amatos? These are yours, right? No, they weren't. So he deleted all the phone numbers and gave me the phone, wiped clean.
Except it wasn't, quite. As I fumbled around trying to work out how to use it, I discovered a mailbox full of text messages. Some were mine, from my friends, to me, and from those I could recover a handful of phone numbers. But there were about a hundred text messages that had come in to the phone's former owner. I read a lot of them, feeling like a voyeur.
Sometimes I couldn't tell if a message was from my friends, to me, or from a stranger to a stranger. ( "What u doing?" and "On my way"). But I deduced the phone's former owner was a guy. There was a whole series of messages from one number that I think was a girl, who I think the phone owner got lucky with after some courtship in a bar. (Also, potentially, a jilted or jealous ex girlfriend sent an angry text or two, very late at night, after he apparently didn't say goodbye to her....) He owns a big truck. He rides something, maybe mountain bikes, and likes to go to the beach. He smokes pot, and arranges to buy it via text messages. (The seller wanted to give him a deal, man, but lost some of their crop....Bummer.) I wondered what prompted this message: "Ur a ballbag." Someone texted that they were going to give notice at work the next day unless they got some support from management, and asked that he keep it a secret. Your secret is safe with me.