Nov. 21, 2009
Posted: Nov. 25, 2009
Continued from Chapter 16: Pray to the Norse God of Endurance
I say, "Fuck."
Sen says, "Fuck."
We all say, "Fuck" for fuck.
Sen says, "Did... I..."
I say, "Well... I mean... shit."
Sen says, "Yeah..."
I say, "Well, we can still meet up on Tuesdays ourselves..."
Sen says, "... Yeah..." She sighs. "Not that that's much consolation."
Wow, I never realized what a big deal this website is to Sen. I mean, does she stay up at night, thinking about all the things she's going to say on the meetup forum? Does she create lots of fake accounts so that it seems like she's got lots of friends, when, deep down, she's just worried that if somebody sees her profile and sees only a couple of friends, they'll judge her and be less likely to befriend her? Does she have fake conversations with these people to make it seem like they're real and not just fake accounts, all "Hey, Monkey. How's it going?" "Awesome like a flotsam, F-Slugger. You?" "I'm great as a first mate!"? Does she create fake accounts on other social networking sites for them too, just in case this hypothetical person viewing her profile is infected by a mild case of stalkeritis and decides to look up all the rel=mes on her social graph and play peek-a-boo with her online personas, so she's got all of these other fake accounts, fake twitter accounts ("is totally real you guys, for serious! :D :D :D" ... "here's a picture of a kitty: http://twitpic.com/qgff7"), fake Facebook pages ("RadioactivePamela only shares certain information with everyone. If you know RadioactivePamela, add her as a friend on Facebook." But she never responds...), fake blogs ("Chris Onstad said he would give me fifty and a grape if I would write a poem today! :D :D :D")? That... really doesn't sound like Sen.
Sen says, "... I guess we could just create new accounts..."
There, see now she's be... Wait, WHAT?!
It's like, you know those slow motion shots of people running away from a blowing-up bomb or running to save a bus full of babies from a... a flying, enchanted... draculaic... Oh, fuck it.
My fingers can't move quickly enough to sign in, and somehow the letters keep tripping me up. You'd think with a lifetime of typing my name into things, I'd be used to it by now, but --- oh my god oh my god. We got blocked?! They blocked us?! We are blocked?!
I say, "Holy shit..."
Sen says, "Holy shit..."
We all say, "Holy shit..." for holy shit...
Sen says, "Well, I mean, you're right. They can't stop us from hanging out or watching scifi. Account or no account."
I say, "Uhh... yeah..."
Sen says, "Honestly, it's kind of a relief."
Ugh. You know that silver lining stuff that people are always trying to pull out of their asses? "Sure, you've got a horde of murderous acid spitters chasing after you through a graveyard, and you just sprained your ankle tripping over the emerging head of one of several dozen vampires just emerging from their graves, and sure, they're not even your biggest concern, because your running toward a tidal wave of fascist jellyfish, and if you don't get through them and into a mausoleum at the other end of the graveyard, and to its very back, and then through another five feet of dirt, to press a single Big White Button, within the next eight minutes, the entire country is going to explode, and everyone's going to blame you for it until the end of time. Sure. What I'm trying to say is, at least you're getting some exercise, right? Plus, you know, I mean, basically anyway you look at it, you're going to be famous, right? Pretty awesome! Oh, and watch out for--- don't get bitten by--- Well, at least you lived a good life, right?!" Ugh.
Sen says, "I mean, we never really needed Meetup.com, did we? Now, we don't have to worry about attracting new people or about satisfying some crotchety people who wear sunglasses inside FOR NO REASON."
I mean, granted, yes, I had three friends. And, I see them weekly, so it's not really a big deal to create a new account and add them as friends again. I just need a new username. Crap. Roseroni? Rosepleasedontdeletethisaccount? That's probably too long.
She says, "We can just watch movies and have fun."
God, I'm unhappy. God, I'm tired. I have no idea how people get by on only a few hours of sleep. You hear about these people, floating around throughout history. Benjamin Franklin. Leonardo da Vinci. Two, three hours a night? I'm more inclined to believe that they didn't exist, that they're just these stories that old kids tell littler kids to make fun of their naïveté, that the little kids end up believing throughout their lives, until one day, they sit up as adults and say, "Holy shit. Nobody sleeps for two hours a night, and no old lady has ever died because a black widow nested in her hair and had eggs and all the little spiders bit her to death." Except, I mean, you're still never really sure, so you try to sleep for only two hours on some nights and basically inject caffeine into your bloodstream, and every night, before going to bed, you run your hands through your hair and then glance at them afterwards, vaguely half-expecting them to be covered in baby spiders.
Sen says, "Uhh... Hello? Still there?"
Oh, shit. I say, "Oh, hey. Sorry."
Sen says, "You okay?"
I say, "Yeah, just tired." Yeah, seriously.
Sen says, "Yeah, sor-- OHMYGOD"
I say, "What?"
Sen says, "I..."
There is a pause.
Sen says, "I..." Her voice is fainter.
There is another pause.
Sen says, "My Twitter account is gone..."
I say, "What...?"
Her breathing is getting choppy. Is... is she...? Holy shit. She says, her voice fluctuating, "My Twitter account..."
What's wrong with her Twitter account? I go to her Twitter page. It is... Oh, God. It's gone, not even disabled, just, "Sorry that page doesn't exist."
I start to try my own page. My hands become heavy and cumbersome, almost incapable of touching just one key, always landing on four or five. I swear, it's taking me three-and-a-half eternities, just to delete nine letters and then type out four. A monkey could do it more quick---
Sen is just plain sobbing into the phone now, but it sounds like someone else, like someone else sobbing about something else to someone else. We're no longer the same people.
She says, "They..."
She says, "They..."
She says, "They... Facebook..."
I open up a new tab (who knows why I'm keeping the old one around), and even as the login page shows up, it's obviously gone; I should still be logged in. But, you know what?, let's try anyway. It's like making sure there aren't any black widows in my hair. Just be safe. Just try it. What if? ... "Incorrect Email/Password Combination." FUCK! I try it three more times just to be safe.
What. The. Hell.
And, then it hits me like a house from a tornado. Google. Holy God. If I've lost Google, I've lost my personal e-mail account. I go straight to Gmail. And, again, I should be logged in already, but... What if? ... "The username or password you entered is incorrect." Oh, holy crap.
I say, "Sen..."
She's just sobbing.
I hadn't noticed: I'm crying too. But, it's someone else.
I say, "Sen..."
She squeaks, "... Yeah...?"
I say, "Google..."
She says, "Yeah..."
And, then I just stare at my screen for a while. Waiting. As if my computer's years of computation could somehow have taught it to solve all of my problems, as if the thousands of times I've logged in before made a connection the cortex of the machine somewhere, and now it can do it no matter what the Internet says, as if everything will become whole.
I think I've stopped crying. And, Sen is just whimpering now, and then even that stops, and there's just silence between us.
Oh God. I say, "Sen..." My voice is hoarse.
Sen says, "Yeah...?" Her voice is hoarse.
I say, "What about Gully and Stan?"
Sen says, "I don't think we can talk to them."
I say, "We... we should..."
Sen says, "I called Stan first... figuring he'd be up anyhow... but, the number was disconnected."
I say, "Disconnected...?" (Are the phone companies involved here too?!)
She says, "He's got... He had a Google Voice account... I didn't think anything of it..."
I say, "Do you have his original number?"
She says, "He asked us to start using the new one... I didn't think... I just deleted the old one."
I say, "Yeah... and Gully...?"
She says, "He switched over right after Stan."
I say, "Ahh..."
I say, "You said Stan would be awake."
She says, "Yeah..."
I say, "I'll meet you there?"
She says, "... Yeah."
I arrive first. Stan's house seems even darker and more destitute than usual. There's a faint, flickering light visible from the front window, and as I drive up, my headlights span over the front lawn, with its now patchy grass
I park and pause. Am I really about to spend some alone-time with Stan? Is that really how I want to spend a portion of thi
I knock on the door.
There is some shuffling outside, something that sounds a bit like a mutter from just inside the door, and then it opens.
Stan is standing there in a full jammy suit: a hat with a fuzzy ball on top, a striped shirt, striped sweatpants.
He says, "Rose."
I say, "I... uhh..." I smile. "Uhh..."
He glares at me and says, "Why don't you come in."
I say, "Thanks."
I walk inside and sit on the couch. He's got "Galaxy of Terror" paused, with Sid Haig going mano a mano with his own arm.
I say, "What's... up...?" God, I'm awful. I have to start small; I can't just tell him why I'm here.
He says, "I am currently surprised at my unexpected guest."
I say, "Ahh..."
There is a pause.
I say, "So... you haven't been online recently..."
Stan says, "Comcast is being a bitch."
I say, "Ah..."
There is a pause.
Stan says, "So, if you're looking for wifi to latch onto, you're out of luck."
I say, "Oh, uhh, no. It's... It's..."
Stan's eyes are starting to narrow.
I say, "Our accounts... Sen's and mine... they're gone."
Stan stands up. He says, "Those pieces of shit!" He starts pacing from one end of the couch to the other. He says, "And, they've gotta have something in their TOS that we've violated somehow... Fuck."
He runs his hand through his lack of hair, knocking his hat off. He keeps pacing.
He says, "Well, this is not so terrible. We'll create new accounts, a new meetup. We'll lose some seniority, but we didn't have much as it was."
He runs his hand through his lack of hair.
I say, "It's not..."
He says, "They may have banned my address, at least for a while, so we'll have to be very careful when recreating the meetup."
I say, "We also..."
He says, "I wonder if they look at post office mail forwarding... I could forward mail to Sen for a while, make it seem like I've moved... Then, maybe a new meetup here wouldn't cause much suspicion."
I say, "It's a bit worse..."
He stops pacing and looks at me. He says, "What?"
I say, "Well, we... uhh... we also lost accounts on other sites..."
His eyes widen. He says, "Other..."
I say, "Twitter, Facebook, Google."
His mouth opens. It closes. He swallows, his Adam's apple drifting up and then down, almost aimlessly.
He says, "Google..."
I say, "Yeah."
He says, almost inaudibly, "Fuck."
Someone knocks at the door (finally), but Stan doesn't move. He's still looking at me.
He swallows again (apple up, apple down).
I exaggeratedly glance toward the entrance and then back at him.
He swallows. His eyes seem to widen even more.
I say, "I'll... get it."
There's a pause.
I get up start going to the door. From behind me I hear him say, "Yeah."
At the door is not only Sen, her eyes bloodshot and poofy, with a bit of concealer to lessen the effects, but also Gully, his head down and shoulders slumped.
I say, "I think Stan's broken."
Sen says, "I think I'm broken too."
She walks inside, and after a moment, Gully follows. We all walk to the couches. Stan is now sitting on one of them, staring at the man frozen in mid-grapple with his own arm. Sen goes to sit next to him, and Gully and I take the other couch.
I look at Sen, and Sen looks at me. I look at Stan, and he looks at the TV. I look at Gully, and he looks down at the floor.
And, we sit.Nov. 22, 2009 →