Yesterday, my teenager turned me on to an app called Wakie and it’s making me remember why I love people.
The idea is that after you download the app, you make yourself available to wake up a fellow human somewhere in the world. The app is randomized so no phone numbers or identifying information gets exchanged other than the country where each person is located. It’s just you, a human being, waking up a fellow human being.
My first thought of course, was that it was yet another strange and barely useful social app. But when I watched my teenager make his first call, well…It became oddly…delightful. A sleepy young man answered, and my son’s voice was the first he heard in the morning of his day, far far away across the world. The app has the ability to record the call, if both people have permitted it to, so afterwards, he and I listened to the recording and giggled about how charmingly groggy his “sleepie” (as the app calls the snoozing person on the other end) was.
When it came time for me to make my first call, I felt a strange sense of trepidation – would I do it “right?” Would the other person be angry or unwelcoming of my call? Would it be better or worse than an alarm?
My first call was to a quiet, tired gentleman in India. I told him it was time to wake up and that I hoped he had a wonderful day. In English, he let me know he was awake and thanked me for the call. After I disconnected, I was beaming. I hoped my voice was a welcome wake up call. The app notifies you when a “sleepie” needs to be awakened, and I was bummed when I didn’t get any more assignments. After ten or fifteen minutes, I closed the app for the night.
I haven’t set up the app to receive my own wake up calls yet, and I’m not sure I will. I would need to leave my volume up all night to get the notification in the morning, and if I’m honest…I’m not sure I want to be the vulnerable one. Isn’t that interesting?
Tonight while my son and his girlfriend were watching a movie, I gave it another shot. One person never answered, another call went to voice mail (the app lets you know that’s the outcome, but you’re not connected to the person’s voice mailbox), but then I was connected twice in a row, both times to people in the U.S. The first call was to a guy who told me his name was Mike, and asked my name. When I told him, he said how wonderful it was to be woken up by my voice and that he thanked me sincerely. All smiles, I then connected to someone who said his name was Jeremy, and who also thanked me, and told me groggily that he had been digging graves lately. I laughed and said, “Is that so?” He laughed as well, and said it was a figure of speech – that what he meant was he was working the graveyard shift, which was why he needed to be woken up at 9pm. I laughed too, and said, “Well, that’s what I thought, but when it comes to digging graves, someone has to, right?” I told him I hoped he had a wonderful night, and he thanked me as well.
It’s just a silly app, right? Except it isn’t. It’s a real live human connection in this disconnected world. It’s reaching out to a stranger, when they’re their most vulnerable, and in that moment, being the very first person they speak to as they begin their day (or gravedigging night). It’s tender and real and strangely loving. In fact, I was telling my son tonight that I have a strange urge to end every call with “I love you.”
It’s not the intimate connection I crave, but it’s an approximation for the moment, and a sweet exchange that lingers long past the thirty seconds of groggy and slightly confused conversation. And it kind of makes me love people. That can’t be a bad thing, am I right?
So for now, good night! Or in the case of the sweet sleepies out there – good morning. 🙂