The NY Post wrote about the phenomenon of having text conversations with your “number neighbor”. It’s what it sounds like. Someone whose phone number is different than your own by a single digit. Before you dismiss this as the latest evidence of dystopian estrangement I’ll share a story. Several years ago, I was hanging out with Ben and one of his close college friends, Ryan. We were trying to decide on where to eat and suddenly Ryan texts the 2 choices to someone else who settled the question.
Me to Ryan, “Who the heck was that?”
The response came matter-of-factly, “Carlos”.
Umm, ok, who the f is Carlos.
Turns out Carlos is the guy he texts whenever he needs to break a trivial tie. You see, several years earlier, Ryan was trying to decide on a TV to buy and texted a friend who knew about such things. Well, he texted the wrong number but still got a response. “Samsung”. Ever since then, Ryan texts that number which belongs to Carlos.
So, of course, I can’t let Ryan hog this knight who promises to joust decision fatigue on a stranger’s behalf. He gave me Carlos’ number and the rules: Keep it simple, 2 choices.
I relied on “Carlos the Question Man” as he’s labeled in my phone for years, throwing him a question every few months. Carlos never asked my name. I haven’t texted him in years but the “number neighbor” article made me think of Carlos. So as I write this on Friday nite I texted him. I just realized it’s after 1am in the 617 area code and now I feel bad.
In case you’re curious about the text, here you go.