The Unexamined Life

Author : D.J. Rozell

Jordan didn’t flirt with Alex until the divorce was final. The marriage had been full of broken promises, but why add one more? However, with the papers signed and a few weeks of decent sleep unknotting the muscles that had been locked in perpetual stress, things changed. There was a lot to like about Alex. Smart and self-confident, but it was the sly smile and the fit of those jeans that made Jordan realize that this was going to happen.

It was clearly a bad idea. Workplace relationships were dangerous enough, but this one wouldn’t even pass the rule of half your age plus seven years. Alex was fresh out of college and Jordan was…not. After inviting Alex to a concert and coffee, which were quickly accepted, Jordan spent much of the intervening time daydreaming. The intoxicating feelings of potential new love mingled with the imagined thoughts of other people watching them together – the looks askance and occasional smirk of admiration.

The first date went well. Coffee turned into dinner and the post-concert discussion continued for hours. Subsequent evenings went so well that, only a few weeks later, they reserved adjacent hotel rooms at a corporate trade show. That first night, after a day of playful teasing, Alex opened the first door connecting the two rooms and found, to no surprise that Jordan had unlocked the other. When Alex slid into the bed, Jordan was welcoming. They had movie-like sex – two silhouettes in blue light – the only thing missing was the soundtrack.

Neither broke the silence of their euphoria for a long time. But as their comfort level increased and things turned playful, Jordan stopped momentarily and fingered the heavy yin-yang pendant hanging from Alex’s neck. “Could you take this off? It keeps knocking into my face.”

“Sorry,” Alex smiled, “I kind of feel incomplete without my body cam.”

“WHAT?!” Jordan slithered sideways and yanked up the bedsheet. Alex’s smile dropped.

“Seriously, what did you think this was? Who doesn’t wear them?” Alex asked sheepishly.

“I know most kids live in the Transparency Age, but I didn’t…”

“So I’m a kid now?” Alex was no longer apologetic.

“Oh, excuse me for being upset, but you just streamed our sex to the internet! It’s a violation of my privacy!”

“Privacy? No one can empty your bank account just from seeing your ass.”

“How do you not understand? It’s illegal!” Jordan was livid.

“No, it USED to be illegal until sensible people realized transparency makes our lives safer. When was the last time you heard about anyone getting raped?”

“Sensible? What if I just smashed that damn camera? How would that protect you?”

“My A.I. service would alert the police and you would be arrested for assault within minutes.” Alex glanced towards the door.

“Damn it, I’m too old for this crap.” Jordan turned away and stared into space thinking about everything said and done over the past month that had been broadcast to the world, suddenly feeling very naïve.

Alex tried a more conciliatory tone, “I’m sorry. I assumed you knew. How about I turn it backwards when you’re naked. It would only be sound.” Alex waited for a reply that never came and then eventually left the room with clothes in hand.



  1. Jae

    Privacy. If you can’t understand why it’s necessary, I couldn’t explain it.

    Good story.

  2. xdhz8

    Great take on the future of privacy. And with a title referencing a quote from Socrates no less. Good job!


    Keeping the character’s genders ambiguous was an interesting choice. In this case it was a little distracting for me. I’d love to take a survey of readers to find out how they assigned the genders while reading. (Jordan was male, Alex female for me)

    • D.J. Rozell

      I would also like to know how readers interpreted the ambiguity. Thanks for the comments.

      • danielhelman

        Wonderful story. I saw via the “fit of those jeans” Alex as male, and then by extension Jordan as female.

  4. SimonJM

    And to think I get twitchy thinking about the prevalence of ‘body cams’ on cyclists … 😉

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