Essay: At the Sound of the Beep...

The telephone shattered distance: it is part of nature now. The Atlantic Ocean does not intervene between one's lips in New York City and the ear of a friend in Paris.

The telephone answering machine subverts time: one leaves a surrogate self back in a little box at home, frozen in time, waiting to be roused by a ring: "Hello," one says, disembodied. "This is Carl. I'm sorry I can't come to the phone now, but..."

It is not Carl, of course. It is a fragment of Carl, deputized with a brief memory. It is...

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