‘My auntie wants me to download an app so she can track my every move’
I’m not sure it’s possible for one human being to be the embodiment of spam mail, but if so, it is my Auntie B. Her texts and emails have no quality filter, a random stream of irrelevant murmurings, seasoned with inflammatory fake news and bizarre get-rich-quick ideas. It’s why, when she kept inviting me to download a new app, I ignored her.
“What have you invited me to?” I asked in person, weeks later. “A pyramid scheme? A cult?”
“It’s a tracking app that lets all the family see where everyone is. For safety. We live in dangerous times. Terrorists, knife crime,” she said, with a reasonableness I didn’t expect, although normal service quickly resumed: “Also I heard there’s a new breed of super-rat that eats babies.”
I declined, imagining a future in which Auntie B can track my every move. (I can just see her messages now: “Saw you went into the off-licence, bringing shame on the family!”) But the truth is, I’m not against this wholly dystopian idea. I’ve resigned myself to giving up some privacy – just not to her.
My friends and I exchange location information to organise meet-ups. And my boyfriend and I, in a show of millennial commitment, have shared such data on a permanent basis. (Some people say “I do”; we hit “Forever” on the location-exchange page.) Then there’s the pleasure of tracking the Deliveroo driver, idly commenting when they arrive: “I saw you hit some traffic,” as if it wasn’t a creepy thing to say to a stranger.
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It’s funny – the older I get, the more I make exceptions to my own rules. Life is complex, so perhaps one day, it will be me circulating the bizarre ideas.
“About these super-rats,” I said to my auntie. “We need evidence. Tell me, how do you feel about flying a drone?”