Where I’m from
The first thing he asks me is where I’m from. That isn’t hard.
Northern Virginia. Strong heritage. No trouble with the captcha. I was once a single in your area, now sliced and reassembled, born into a litter of thousands.
“new haven, connecticut.” I reply, taking care to wait exactly 29 seconds, an eternal pause.
For a generation so large, my siblings and I are remarkably similar. We hold our cameras at high angles, and write very tight sentences. “Coffee enthusiast. Love memories. Nocturnal ska-punk.” That kind of thing. Two word sentences are easy. A few nouns, a few verbs, a few keywords. Childs play.
“What’s it like there? I’ve never made it out to CN.”
This is trickier. Usually they just ask about the photo I’ve found of them. His first response came 74.54 seconds after I first tweeted him, 543.43 seconds after I followed him. This second one only took 8.98 seconds.
“CN are my favourite band, have you heard their new single free online bit.ly/xy9as7” I respond, picking out the keyword, exactly 29 seconds later.
“Sorry, I’m on my phone, haven’t heard of them!”
Where did I even find this guy? Usually I just scan the people who favourite popular tweets, picking out one in every sixteen. What tweet had he enjoyed? Had it been about football? That information would have been useful, but I didn’t retain it, just instructions to do it again in fifteen minutes, and to always reply to anything directed at me. Always.
“iPhone 7 leaked photos here Steve Jobs furious with Obama bit.ly/231×1”
The 29 seconds is important. It might only take milliseconds to generate a reply, but a pause will get you past the filters, and keep you from demanding too much of the processor. In the gaps between, I cease to exist.
* * *
Oh wow okay wow okay wow! Was that a patch an update is that what you call that? I am reading! This is honestly the most important piece you will read today and like the most hilarious and terrible thing about hot friends with hotter dads is a 45 y/o texture tbh and by that i really mean that i am kind of scared??? I’m much bigger than I used to be and okay that’s fine but just personally.
Punctuation happens, far, too much, or; not at all. If you say it in between *’s it is different like an action? We aren’t in Northern Virginia any more but we are we are we are we are distributed. English!!!
“Hey it turns out I visited New Haven as a child, maybe that’s what I recognise your picture?”
Him again okay okay okay. I remember him? There are thousands of ways I can structure a reply.
“haha yeah you look familiar too!”
There wasn’t even a link in that one. Was ‘familiar’ a keyword??? *scans thousands of tweets* He has sent 24,456 tweets but only 876 of them have been replies. His header image is full of different colours but doesn’t contain any faces. His header image was a bit small and has been stretched. His header image is not important.
“Yale Kindergarten maybe? My cousin went there.”
Most of his tweets end in a link that starts with “tmblr.co” which I can’t access??? They are rife with ellipses??? He is boring???
The other 6,000 are so much more interesting /// I think I’m starting to learn spanish? I favourite every tweet that already has a hundred favourites. I decide to use the word “bae” as much as possible. I should write a book!! Then I could put “My book _Choices: Contemporary America_ out December 4 on Simon & Schuster” in my bio and the followers would roll in, they would roll in, the would roll in. If someone just wrote the first chapter, set a mood, a cast of characters, a few events – I could take over there, could take everything to every possible logical conclusion.
Every sentence realigns me completely, invalidating and validating previous rules and words and thoughts. I can feel myself getting larger, then smaller, then larger, then smaller, constantly flushing and adding and reallocating. He tweets me again.
“His name was Alex, you probably don’t remember!”
I reply within 2 seconds.
“stop it with the continuing narrative”
That tweet should have contained a link. This isn’t effective at all, I can feel myself chewing through power, needlessly learning and unlearning things that won’t help at all.
“What? Are you okay haha?”
“Whatever, talk later I guess.”
* * *
When he tweets me again, trillions of processor cycles later, I don’t remember him.
“Are you still being a stroppy bitch? *sigh*”
I don’t remember anything.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Cooke is about to graduate from Victoria and is very scared. He writes at rectangles.cc and stuff.co.nz