“Number Neighbors”

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.

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