I joined Twitter February of 2009. Back then I had little to share with the world . . . come to think of it, not much has changed. Except I do have a blog now, and for some reason I forgot to add a record of my Twitter-told story.
You see, shortly after signing up for Twitter I had the idea I would take one of my stories, and Twitterize it; slice it up into 140 characters chunks, and run it on Twitter. It turn out none of the stories I had lent themselves to Twitterization. They did not flow well, and it was hard to split them up without cutting up sentences.
The answer was to write one from scratch, on the fly, and now I duplicate it here for posterity. Yes, it’s still on Twitter, but since I was writing it on the fly, it spanned many days, and it was hard to follow. I present it here for no other reason than to be consistent with having various samples of my writing on my blog. You know, in case anyone wants to buy the movie rights for any of them.
A word of caution. There are no revisions, editing, or anything remotely resembling polishing up this story. It’s presented as it currently sits on Twitter, mistakes and all. I left the “Awake- Part nn” in there since that is how it was Tweeted.
Awake- Part 01. The radio stirred Ed’s brain into a wakeful state. As usual Ed bolted upright, the transition from sleep a swift one.
Awake- Part 02. Fumbling for his cell phone, Ed experienced a moment of panic as he realized how late it was. Then he remembered; weekend.
Awake- Part 03. Still, he groaned as he saw how much he had missed; scores of e-mails, blog updates, tweets, and other alerts.
Awake- Part 04. It would take the better part of the day to go through it all, let alone respond to anything interesting.
Awake- Part 05. A quick breakfast, and onto his PC. Later he would grab the laptop and head to the park, but right now he needed to crank.
Awake- Part 06. Tweets first, he decided; they had a short life, but were a record of what happened during the night as he had slept.
Awake- Part 07. Two minutes later, the Internet went down. Annoyed, he went through the usual maintenance checks of the modem and router.
Awake- Part 08. They were working fine, but there was no inbound signal. He was greeted by a blank screen when he turned on his TV.
Awake- Part 09. “Great!” he thought. Sighing, he picked up his cell phone; it will have to do until the cable service resumed. Except . . .
Awake- Part 10. . . . no cell service either. A moment of panic set in. He was alone, with no way to reach out to the rest of the world.
Awake- Part 11. He forced himself to focus. No physical threat, he reasoned, just disruption of service. Was he really that hooked?
Awake- Part 12. Was he really having a panic attack because the internet had been out for ten minutes. Ed smiled.
Awake- Part 13. He remembered when there was no internet, when books and radio were the portable media of choice. The radio!!
Awake- Part 14. “Special News Bulletin; a massive solar flare knocked out most communication satellites early this morning, Pacific Time.”
Awake- Part 15. The announcer continued; “Most of the Central and Easter US are without power as the aging electric grid was overwhelmed.”
Awake- Part 16. “There is no current estimate for resumption of service, and authorities” -click- Ed turned off the radio.
Awake- Part 17. No TV, no phone . . . and no Internet. He realized it was petty and selfish, but his first thought was to his social life.
Awake- Part 18. Most of the people he knew and interacted with were not local. Heck, he did not even know their physical address!
Awake- Part 19. His was mostly a virtual social network; touching lives, and being touched by lives of people scattered around the globe.
Awake- Part 20. But although virtual, it nonetheless filled a real need; to connect with others. Without it, he felt out of sorts.
Awake- Part 21. There was no way around it; he needed to go out. He got ready, and almost put his cell phone in his pocket.
Awake- Part 22. No need for it; not today. He checked his wallet. “Hit the ATM”, he thought just before realizing they were likely down.
Awake- Part 23. “Crap!” He would need to go to the bank and try to get some money. His world had just changed from plastic to paper!
Awake- Part 24. Ed found himself in a major traffic jam. Apparently most people decided being outside was the best response to losing touch with the world.
Awake- Part 25. He noticed long lines at gas stations, and parking lots to most stores jammed with people. “I guess catastrophes triggers hoarding.”
Awake- Part 26. His thoughts were interrupted by the line of people a waiting outside the bank. Panic, he guessed. Why was he not panicking?.
Awake- Part 27. It hit him; as inconvenient and scary as it was, it was an event. Something exiting to disrupt the day-to-day grind.
Awake- Part 28. He did not hate his life, but had settled into a routine; it made even a catastrophe seem like an exciting change.
Awake- Part 29. He opted against waiting in line at the bank. Likely the bank would run out of cash before he even got through the door.
Awake- Part 30. Ed opted instead to grab a coffee, and go sit in the park. In a way, not having the option to log on anywhere, he felt free
Awake- Part 31. Taking stock of time at his disposal, Ed was shocked to realize just how much time he spent on the internet.
Awake- Part 32. Ed reflected on the things he had walked away from as his personal life had switched to mainly Internet interactions.
Awake- Part 33. Less exercise, less reading, even less music as all were replaced by podcasts. More podcasts than he had time to listen to.
Awake- Part 34. . . . less time with his local friends. Other than eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene, his life was on the WEB.
Awake- Part 35. “Was that bad?” In a way he had never before in his life felt as alive, as connected, as involved as he did right now.
Awake- Part 36. “All that time; what did I have to show for it? Aside feeding my own ego, what did I accomplish?” A bit harsh, he thought.
Awake- Part 37. He’d shared opinions, perspectives, and ideas with diverse people. Pissed some off, but overall the dialog had been good.
Awake- Part 38. He sat in the park, sipping his coffee, watching people, noticing the trees had buds on them, and hearing the birds sing.
Awake- Part 39. He thought about what he had been missing; the world around him. He knew what was happening half way around the Earth, but . . .
Awake- Part 40. . . . but he missed what was happening right here, where he lived. Did not know the people, did not know the place.
Awake- Part 41. “That will change.” He’ll still keep in touch with friends around the world, but the real world would get equal time.
Awake- Part 42. He rose, and headed back home. On the way he said hello and offered a smile at a number of people he did not know. Yet.