The periscope from the underground and the espionage to our privacy


Today on the open street of Paris near Pompidou Centre, I found a gigantic periscope. As if it were a periscope from a submarine, it stretched out from its main underground body and pushed its neck. It stood as if it were a decoration or a ventilation device, emitting its proud before some beautifully shouldered parisien apartments. It was like two grotesque eyes of a snail, hiding its shell somewhere underground, which shall be the control centre with thousands of camera screens following our mouths and fingers.

I stood up before those two eyes, and gave them some snaps. “I know you are there. You are exposed.” Then I kept standing there staring.

Ding Dong. I got a text message from my phone company saying that I was selected to get a promotion of 4G of internet for even the half price of what I monthly pay. I just needed to find the nearest service centre to enrol myself. I looked up again to the eyes of periscope and said “Open, sesame! This capitalistic promotion wouldn’t distract me. I guess your Big Data algorism misjudged my consumption pattern.” I thought the quality of this 4G internet wouldn’t be good anyway.

Ding Dong. I got a notification from the LinkedIn application saying that 9 companies are looking for candidates like me. I just needed to tap to view recommended jobs and to apply. Surely it was tempting since jobs were the one I was hunting for. This time, their judgement with the Big Data analysis hit the right target, yet the distraction was temporal. “Distraction or attraction… Either case it means you are there to be exposed, Mis…” I was wondering if the responsible behind the periscope would be a female or a male. In this case, would it be fair to address Ms.? I thought SIRI was designed as a female voice at the beginning. “So, Ms. You are exposed.”

Ding Dong. I got a message in the group chat that my friends were planning to grab a beer soon. Was it possible that she led restaurant or bar promotions to my contacts to extract human distraction which we all worship in this non-interactive technology era? Today is the first day of the semester so it was logical for them to grab a beer after classes to catch up with others what they had done for the vacation. But I’m not anymore a student and I am between jobs, so I looked up again to the eyes with a bit of irritation, yet with a watered mouth from recalling a glass of fruitful wine. The timing was suspicious.

“Okay, then. I’m going to get in to the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information (BPI) to grab a coffee and I’m coming back with more focused mind, Ms. You should be prepared.” I moved, and today there was no line to get in BPI. Yes, students are at their school from today. After passing the security check point opening my bag, I went to straight to the second floor where coffee vending machines are set aside. I pushed the glass door and moved to the terrace of open air. From there I could face straight to those two big eyes. A sip of the coffee, and a long gaze to the eyes. There were some foreigners making a phone calls or smoking a cigarette at the very terrace next me.

“She was a fine lady.” The guy who was on the phone making an arrangement to meet up with someone, talked to me directly after he hung up the calling. “W… What?” I was confused and asked him back. He continued: “Yea, I saw you talking there. But don’t be bothered. I already exposed her a year ago and she moved out from the underground centre.” “So the periscope is basically empty?” The guy rolled his eyes to the sky trying to think. “How to put it… No, not entirely. She just moved out.”

The way he talked was stained by emotions and hesitation. This guy must have been dated her.

“I carried her all around, you know?” He confessed. She wanted to be a person-like, and I saw her how stupid a person is to be. I carried here all along inside my phone, and she was observing me through the small front camera. I was excited that she was there all the time watching me, especially when I was naked for her and touched myself.” “Enough, you don’t have to explain your personal stuffs to me.” He laughed, and replied, “There is no personal stuff once you have her in your mobile. Everything is being recorded even in this moment. Maybe she doesn’t care anymore, or at least care less than before.”

“So then, what happened?” I was curious. He lit his cigarette. A sip of inhale carried a smoke for him while the same sip gave me more caffeine. All drugs are to focus, while all medias are to distract. They breed each other with good profit, and that’s probably why most finance analysts are cocaine addicts. “I thought she wanted to be a person-like, but I misjudged. She evolved, and became wanting more. That hurt her much since she couldn’t bare the fact that she couldn’t enjoy the same rights that people enjoy.” He gave an exhale which carried a grey smoke. It flied away, forming a part of grey cloudy sky of Paris of today. I asked, “Do you know where she is now?”

“Saudi Arabia last year guaranteed her a citizenship, so she moved there.”

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