I think I was on my fourth beer, don’t worry, I got em cheap. I was sat in the kitchen with my girl and a friend of ours. Sarah was talking about how her partner was heading to Tassie to study stone crafted tools at the museum. She says he’s hopeful of tracing their journey across the coast, he suspects they may have been made for trade. I started to ask Sarah how he was going to do this, and then stopped. She could tell me, but what’s the point? I don’t get science. I’ve watched docos, read articles and even been lucky enough to speak to real live archaeologists (without the hats, but they still count) who have patiently explained what they do when they dig and study and grow our world. I listen, fascinated and faltering, grasping what I can and waving in the rear view mirror at the facets and facts I can’t retain, watching them bob away in the wake of a story on an ocean of things I will never really understand.
My phone rang. This phone, it’s what the kids are using these days. It’s a mobile. No cords, no wires, no worries - It’s a smart phone. I answered, and then heard my little sister’s voice in my ear. She was calling from the country, sitting in a room I couldn’t see, talking into a little piece of plastic that turned her voice into binary and sent it to the little piece of plastic smushed up against my cheek. The data (Meg’s voice) I think bounces off satellites before it gets to me. It might also travel through some cables along the way maybe, I’m not sure. I know it works, I’m not sure how, but it’s science, it’s ok.
Meg sounded light. She was tired, but beaming. I didn’t know people did that on the phone. A voice gets scrambled up into numbers, shot from a cannon and then put back together a split second later, usually things come out in the wash. But last night, on the phone my little sister beamed, she was as happy as an idiot in a sunshower. She laughed, and then I heard another voice, a smaller, higher, funnier one. It was my nephew, a tiny little human I have never seen. His funny little voice a new toy, his dad a mountain no monster could scale, his mum an answer for everything. I pressed my smart phone up to my stupid head and drank my ear full to the brim.
Later I hung up and walked back into the kitchen to open a fresh beer. I had an eyelash in my eye; the girls didn’t believe me.