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I must issue an apology to my “number neighbor.” Sorry, but I’m not interested in striking up a conversation with the stranger who decides to text me at 1 a.m. simply because my phone number is one digit off from theirs.

I generally don’t like talking to anyone at 1 a.m. regardless of who they are. And to be completely honest, I’m really not interested in talking to anyone via phone after 10 p.m., so this random text message was far out of my comfort zone.

The text came in like this: “Hey number neighbor *flame emoji* *flame emoji*”

The message made no sense to me at 1 a.m., and it didn’t make any more sense when I work up at 8 the following morning.

Naturally, I told my husband about it. Can you believe some bozo texted me last night with gibberish?

Apparently it wasn’t gibberish. Chuck enlightened me about the “number neighbor” phenomenon.

The “number neighbor” challenge dared people to send a text to the phone number that is directly before or after your number. So if your cell number ends in 1234, your “number neighbors” are 1233 and 1235. Well, my number neighbor happened to be using my Dad’s old cell number, so upon hearing the rules of the game, I immediately wanted to start messing with this person.

“Daddy? Is that you? Come home, Daddy. We miss you.”

I also considered, “Wow, thanks for texting me from my dead Dad’s phone number. I always like to be reminded of that at 1 a.m.”

However, my Dad isn’t dead and I didn’t want to put such a prank in motion. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if this was just some lonely soul hoping to make a connection. A recent study conducted by YouGov, a polling firm and market research company, suggests that 30 percent of millennials (ages 23-38) surveyed for the study said they feel lonely. That is three in 10 people in this age group feel loneliness.

This builds on a study published by “The Economist” and the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2018 that suggested two in 10 adults say they feel lonely, left out or isolated.

Can you blame them? This generation has come into adulthood riding the social media wave – seeing images that suggest all the perfect lives their friends and internet idols are leading. FOMO (fear of missing out) is like an infection gripping onto its host as this generation takes adulting to the next level.

Do I want to save up for a better apartment or do I want to spend all my saving on a European vacation where I can post dozens of photos showing me having the time of my life.

Credit Karma released the results of its 2018 study which found that “nearly 40 percent of millennials have spent money they didn’t have and gone into debt to keep up with their peers.”

Maybe it’s because I watched my parents battle debt when I was growing up, but I’m not a big fan of being in the red for frivolous reasons.

I thought about all these things as I returned to the text message from my number neighbor. Being a reporter, I am a curious person. Who is this person? What do they want? What are they hoping to find by taking this stab into the dark?

Then again, my number neighbor may have been drunk or high or both. Who in their right mind would text a stranger at 1 a.m.? I guess I’ll never know.

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Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Simple & Sassy runs every other Sunday. She can be reached at shartley@napanews.com.

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Online Editor/Calendar Editor

Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Her column Simple & Sassy runs on alternating Sundays.