'Lying in a Bed of Bee-Shaped Flowers: On Being Watched', by Chelsea Hodson



No one forced me to enrol in drama class during fifth grade summer school, but I chose it because I liked the idea of being a performer. I imagined myself spotlit, showered in stray roses and applause.

But when I read the script and was instructed to write down my top three character choices, I abandoned my fantasy and wrote down the three disposable roles—the ones that had just one word. My line was part of a list of ingredients for a meal the lead characters were cooking. I took drama class all summer so I could be on stage for one night and say bread with an exclamation point.

My parents sat in the audience while my classmates did all the work and I stood there, ordinary. I wanted to be admired, but I refused to risk anything, so I watched the female lead glide around the stage wearing a wreath made of fake flowers. I observed her so intently that I nearly missed my line. Bread!

I remembered this school play when I downloaded Somebody, the half-app/half-human messaging service created by Miranda July. From the website:

When you send your friend a message through Somebody, it goes—not to your friend—but to the Somebody user nearest your friend. This person (likely a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in.

I downloaded the app right away, created my profile, but I didn’t dare use it. Once again I’d completed my childhood routine: I’d signed up for more than I could handle. I liked the idea of approaching strangers, but not enough to actually do it.

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This is so wonderful and we are so grateful that Chelsea shared it with us.