Instruction Creep

August 29th, Hong Kong – Arrived in The HK. Looks incredible. Fun times. really humid, but excited nonetheless. Found a reputable-looking drug store chain to buy a few things I need. A year of amazing experiences abound.

September 1st, Hong Kong – Email from credit card company. Fraud alert. someone in Florida had run up a bill of around $350. Canceled the credit card. Oh well, no big deal. Issued a new card. In the meantime, HK is fantastic.

September 4th, Hong Kong – Spoke with mom. She will send me the new credit card when she gets it. Still upbeat. Should get to me in seven days. 

September 14th, Macau – Emailed with mom. Credit card should have gotten here by now. Upon checking the tracking number, discover it was waylayed in Hawaii somewhere. Uncertain as to the status. Worried it may have been activated and used.

September 15th, Macau – Received email from the Credit Card Company: “We’re sorry to hear your card is lost. We will issue you a new one.” Wonder how close we are to computers running everything. Was The Terminator actually a cautionary tale?

September 23rd, Macau – Received (supposedly lost) Credit Card in the mail. Heard choral accompaniment of Arc-angels after opening the envelope. Held up card in the light like King Arthur would Excalibur. Emailed Mom to share in the glory.

September 27th, Macau – Need landline to call to activate credit card to have company pick up the bill. No landlines in sight. Understand now Captain Ahab’s obsession. Think maybe he got a raw deal in his description. He seems like a pretty reasonable guy now. Hunt for landline begins.

September 28th, Macau – Landline at school (To make international calls) reserved for only higher-ups. Must find landline. Must make phone call.

October 3rd, Macau – Like Archimedes in the bathtub, or Sir Isaac Newton underneath the tree, I have made a breakthrough. Skyped with mom who phone relays with the credit card company domestically. Here is box [] Here is me 🙂 Here is me thinking outside box []:)

October 4th, Macau – On skype with mom. She calls the credit card company. The speakerphone isn’t loud enough for me to hear. Mom places the phone near the computer and leans her head close to the microphone. Something Cronenberg might imagine. An imperfect melding of human and machine. Can’t hear the person at the end of the line. Mom must repeat everything to the other person. Visions of saying to my students SEE, THIS IS WHY WE PLAYED TELEPHONE!!!!! THIS IS WHY WE PLAY TELEPHONE. If I find Alexander Graham-Bell, I’m going to use my credit card to buy him anything he wants. The representative tells me the card is activated.

October 6th, Macau – Sitting in the office, online, debating what music to buy on Itunes with newly authorized credit card. Hold it up in the light, marvel at the picture of lighting on the face of the card, feel the raised grooves of my name and the numbers emblazoned on the plastic. Show it off to friends like Patrick Bateman would his new business card for working as a VP at Pierce and Pierce. Bone. The lettering is something called Silian Rail. I typed in the number and the security code. The red words flashed on the screen above the security code box… not a valid security code. Not a valid security code. Not a valid security code.Not a valid security code.Not a valid security code. Not a valid security code.

October 43?? Macau? – On the phone with mom again. Relay with Credit Card company via skype? The same conversation as before? Did I go back in time? Is this really happening now? Is the video/audio feed I’m receiving just a prerecorded message? Is there an archive of prerecorded messages which anticipate my answers ahead of time? Videodrome? An experiment to study the long-term effects of credit card withdrawal? Mom loses contact with the credit card company. We both laugh. I tell her I’ll attempt to use it again. The credit card glows in my pocket like the ring in Bilbo Baggin’s pants pocket.

??????? – Received an email. The replacement card from the email I sent the company suggesting my card may be lost has arrived. Thomas Jefferson was right: We should not be dependent on banks and credit, we should live lives of yeoman agrarian farmers; self-sufficiency. 001111000010101000010101010000011010101010101010100000011111111100100101010100101010100001101010101010100010101000001011011111001010100001100

Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His other work can be found in links on his website:

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