Let’s play a game of “where were you when you heard…?”
Actually, no – this is a non-interactive blog post, so let’s play “here’s where I was when I heard…”
When Princess Di died, I was working at the menswear counter in Farmers (my part-time job while I was at University*). We started hearing from customers that something had happened to her – first it was that she was sick or hurt, then that she was dead. I finally got confirmation when I got home that evening and turned on the news.
The 9/11 attacks occurred in the early hours of the morning New Zealand time. I assume I’d been listening to music in the car on the drive in to work; if I’d had the radio on, I’d have doubtless heard about it from that. As it happened, I got to work, sat down at my desk and started my usual checking of e-mails and blog sites. The day’s entry on one of the e-mail lists that I was signed up for ended with something to the effect of “our thoughts are with everyone in New York today” – “Huh. Wonder what that’s about?” I thought. A little while later I wandered out into the main area of the office to find that a TV had been wheeled out and tuned to the rolling news coverage. “Huh. That it’ll be it, then.” I thought.
I heard about Michael Jackson’s death on Twitter.
I heard about the Pope’s resignation on Twitter.
I heard about Margaret Thatcher’s death on Twitter. And, as I was in the process of writing this post, I heard about the bombings in Boston on Twitter. Well, Facebook, but only because I checked it first.
Look, I’m not saying this is a bad thing – the speed at which information can travel around the world through informal networks of personal connections is a wondrous and powerful thing. It’s just the way things are headed now for those of us lucky enough to live in the digital society. Word of mouth now has a hashtag.
When the chemtrail-spewing murderbots finally evolve consciousness and invade, I’m sure I’ll know about it straight away as whatever communication device, sub-dermal implant or genetically-engineered brain parasite I’m using for communication at the time will doubtless light up with dozens of comments to the effect of “That awkward moment when a murderbot ejaculates acid at you from its hydraulic deathgroin” “Face melted clean off! #ttrtpt #killbots” and so on. And I’ll think “Huh.”
And my “Huh.” will be broadcast to everyone who knows me (hashtag #huh), which will be no good, because they’ll all be dead.
*The other day I was shopping there and the person who served me was someone I used to work with back then. Not sure if she recognised me, and I didn’t say anything, because how do you word “hey – remember me? I used to be exactly where you still are now, only that was fifteen years ago!” without having to then watch a person visibly die inside?