Schroedinger’s Cat

Nose of a Cat

I was trying to figure out some complicated software procedure for a client and was performing the same steps for the ninth time to no avail when the vibration of my phone on the table—which was on silent as it always was when I was at work—yanked me out of deep focus and deeper frustration. I was new on the job, still on probation period, still figuring out what I was supposed to be doing, and still keen on following all the rules to the letter. One of them being not to use one’s phone for private purposes during working hours. The phone kept buzzing, silently but distractingly nonetheless. I felt a surge of annoyance ascending as the sound continued. Everybody who had my number knew better than to call me while I was at work. Everybody knew I preferred text messages. I reached out to my phone intending to put it to flight mode and getting my concentration back. When my finger touched the back of my phone’s plastic cover that depicted a Japanese manga of a giant broccoli destroying a city in Godzilla like fashion, a strange prickly feeling crawled down my neck like a spider with too many legs. First, I had the strong impression that the sensation was caused by the gaze of a higher authority that touched me judgmentally. I turned around slowly, trying not to be inconspicuous and therefore behaving all the more inconspicuous as if I had already done something despicable or was about to do so at any moment. The three colleagues with whom I shared the small office space were all staring at the computer screens in front of them, big headphones on, the reflection of blue light on their faces giving their complexions a deadly tint. They barely moved, except for the occasional blink of their eyes and the constant chopping of their fingers. Nobody had noticed anything, or at least nobody seemed to care. The prickly feeling remained and only when the phone turned silent suddenly, the real cause for my unease dawned in the back of my head where fear and precognition lived. Everybody who had my number knew better than to call me while I was at work—unless it was an emergency. A vibration as short and as final as a full stop gave physical confirmation that I had received a text message after all. My index finger seemed glued to the back of my phone. With its tip I could feel the smooth plastic surface, which felt neither cold nor warm. Everything about me had stopped in this one moment. I dared not to move forward. Only my heart sped along, beating so fast it hurt, making my blood rush noisily trough my veins, deafening the world to a roaring silence. In my mind all the emergencies flew by. Emergencies that could have happened, might already have happened. And then I thought of Schrödinger’s cat, finally understanding what it meant. Unless I turned the phone and looked at that message, everything had happened—and nothing at all.


Dieser Text ist das Ergebnis der Schreibübung: Ein Moment in Slow Motion. Sie stammt aus dem Coursera-Kurs “The Craft of Setting”, der Teil der Spezialisierung: Creative Writing ist.

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