In this day and age, technology has learned to fuck with us. Facebook will change, without seeming to give us any notice whatsoever! The unfailing Gmail may fail, and none of us will be able to communicate! Those of us who are busy “doing things” on the Internet (where else would we do things?) may notice a lapse in power — perhaps Mercury has gone retrograde, or maybe it’s the robots finally overtaking us completely. You will reach out to Twitter, and panic will have set in, with all of your “friends” (whom, mostly, let’s admit, you have never met in person except for the ones you have met in person and avoided ever since then because, God, that was awkward) tweeting terrified, dramatic things in all caps! GMAIL?! DOWN!? And then you will go to Facebook but EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT, maybe nothing’s working at all, and all you can do is weep huddled in a corner of your cubicle rocking yourself. Where is the world you used to know?
This is when it’s good to remember that there was that one friend, that girl or guy back in high school or college you bonded with due to environmental proximity, that coworker you enjoy sharing drinks with the occasional Friday night, once you break away from the computer, or that elderly relative who is always reaching out, sometimes even sending postcards or those burly missives of an older time, letters. YOU CAN CALL THAT PERSON. You might even, with all technology down, visit them, and sit or stand face to face and maybe drink some tea, because that seems appropriate. Isn’t that how people used to interact?
Soon enough, you will check your BlackBerry or your iPhone or your Twitter-for-whatever-handheld-device you have — or, maybe, a disembodied voice will come on over the office loudspeaker and announce something like, “Return to your stations, work-humans! Gmail is back!” and everything will, thank goodness, be back to normal. You will breath a sign of enormous relief, because wasn’t that all just incredibly chance-y, and plant yourself back in front of the nearest computer to continue your everyday, normal life. You will say to yourself, “Google was down for 4 minutes, and I survived!” And you will feel pleased, until that feeling fades in the moonlight and the typing and the gchat beeps.
But someday, weeks or months or years from now, on a rainy day when everything seems gray and melancholy and you don’t remember the last real human voice you heard, you will think back to that time when the world seemed like it had ended, and you actually spoke to someone, just the two of you, shooting the old-fashioned shit, and you will feel warm inside, almost like you were ALIVE.