Every day, even two or three times in the same day, the mobile reminds me of the photograph of a past episode, an image that the device contextualizes ‘motu proprio’ with an allusion to the passage of time. On a day like today two, three, five or nine years ago this happened, and that, and this other. More than remembering, the telephone exhumes: a summer dinner whose diners have died; the change that happened that way, in heels and without white, in the days of the World Cup in South Africa; last winter’s snow piled on the bars of the window or the last trip to a city and a country that no longer exist.
Sometimes the mobile has the
bad taste of improvising a clip. Turn snapshots into video with transitions, effects, and cheesy music, which I can switch to more festive or even epic tunes if I wish. And not to mention the face that anyone can have with the photographic log of the days of confinement: the portrait of sourdough bread that we learned to cook and have forgotten; the zebra crossing of a city in which only empty buses, ambulances and hearses circulated, or the screenshot of the news when in Madrid they turned an ice rink into a morgue because the funeral homes were not enough.
The elephant memory of the phone unleashes in me an aging emoticon, an awareness of the finiteness of the ‘like’. Sometimes, the least perhaps, the device makes use of an algorithm and relates a certain memory to a recently searched subject on Google. It often happens with the pages of books that I have read and of which I have photographed a passage: they reappear out of nowhere, underlined and full of ‘post-tips’ that I do not remember having placed. I discover myself as the Javier Marías from ‘Tomorrow in the battle think of me’: I amuse myself skinning the passage of time and circling the edge of my memories, scattered like a leftover pizza or an uneven earring. Episodes that had value and have lost it, because they have been separated from their set.
“I cannot cease to exist while all other things and people stay here and remain alive,” wrote Marías in that novel to refer to the eternal rush of life as what happened or did to us. That the years go by is not the problem, it was missing more! The point is that the phones – I do not know if they are intelligent, but they are twisted – behave as forensics of what has been lived and, not happy with that, elevate to the category of ephemeris the expiration dates of my own memories. That is the only certainty of the second summer after the pandemic: I am a hostage to my iPhone, the ghost of my own phone.