Words Said to Me Over the Phone

“I am watching something”

What does that mean?  I am watching something.  I’m not going to get into the things that it could indicate, because that addresses the person and my emotive state and various forms of paranoia and apathy and relative situations that I don’t really want to get into right now, but what does that mean?  To say, I am watching something, and not say anything else.

“I” – First person pronoun indicative of the subject.

“am” – the verb to be indicating a state of, what?

“watching” – viewing or observing, presumably with the eyes.

“something” – anything, a thing unspecified or unknown – probably in this circumstance unspecified rather than unknown, assuming that the act of watching informs to some extent what “something” could be, a lack of description for the sake of brevity or privacy.

As an English major, I believe in the power of close reading, and as a slightly neurotic inventor of a pseudo-mystical/sarcastic ideal that everything in life inherently occurs as it does in literature, I must consequently believe that those words mean something.  The author, in this case, the speaker, chooses certain words over others, and whether it is coincidental, intentional, symbolic, or something else entirely, these words, “I am watching something” were chosen over several other variations.

  • The more specific: “I am watching a movie”
  • The less specific: “I am busy right now”
  • The brush-off: “I can’t/don’t want to talk right now”
  • The indirect-yet-polite brush-off: “Can I call you back?”
  • The obvious lie: “My grandmother is currently choking on a fava bean.”
  • The universal out: “I am currently having sex.”
  • The bomb-drop: “Please don’t call me anymore.  I’ve completely lost interest in you in every way.”

Why does someone choose one iteration over another?  It’s not so bad, it’s just out of my hands, and the lack of control is disconcerting.  The lack of control in the situation, and the lack of control in the choice of words.  I know it’s not fair to get worked up over four words, but it’s hard for me to believe that they don’t mean this much.

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