PENNY STRUGGLES TO GET ONLINE

The leaves were falling as she wandered home from work. She hated walking alone.  She held the phone tight in her hand to ward off the looks of dodgy passers by.   It seemed as good a moment as ever to connect with her new five Periscope pals.  She left the hot mess of work behind on her desk. Suddenly there was internet connection in the air and she jumped on it.

She could not get the new SIM card to fit her shiny phone. The man in the phone shop had cut the fresh SIM in two. She had tried with tweezers to fit it inside and now all she had was pieces of plastic on her fingertips. Nothing would fit in her phone now. She would have to buy another one except the shops were closed and she had to get her message out now. Periscope would not wait for her.

She wanted to strike while the iron was hot and hack into followers of a similar blog to boost her own.  Would they be online she wondered? Only one way to find out. She paused in front of her new phone as the title screen asked her ‘What do you see?’   It had been a tough day at work and her first response was total oblivion which would then lead to nothingness. She couldn’t write that. Although no one would come. She threw caution to the wind to see if there was anyone else out there, feeling hopeless and using social media to prop up an existence just like her.  She could not divide the two problems in her life and she hoped that one would eventually cure the other. What would cure her only time would tell.

Staring at her from the screen was her face. The smile which she hadn’t seen for a while was still there. Periscope was her truck out of the bad times. She liked the recognition and instant moment of fame. Except she had lost most of her followers after her phone had crashed on the last few broadcasts.  Now it had crashed again.

Only the lonely knew the way she felt tonight.  She sung as she looked again at the computer screen.  Her five new friends looked like newbies online.  Then she saw something that changed everything.  Her perception of life altered as she chewed the chocolate off an old eclair that was stuck in her mouth.

Someone has given me 609 hearts she thought. At last, it’s a reason to feel good about myself without leaving the house. I have periscope on my side. It is inside my mobile phone so I always feel good.  She thought.

Everyday more people were popping onto periscope with huge expectations of creating an instant tribe.   She hated it when they deleted their first periscope because no one came because her scopes looked worse by comparison.  She was fed up of talking newbies around from quitting and building them up to a point they could try it another time.  Her hands were tied.  She could not even send them a bag full of hearts to boost their morale without a working sim card.

The screen refreshed as she closed down the broadcast for today. She just got one audience member on this scope. She struggled to find out who this was. It said the person watching from the web. She would never know. Whoever the listener is or was she hoped they could come back. There will be more later she said to no one in particular as she turned to the entrance to her flats. The time spent walking home flew. She must have been having fun.

She popped up on Twitter, not Periscope, to say her scope hadn’t gone well. OK one person had gone. She found it disappointing. Others found it normal and didn’t want to say anything because sometimes they to no one to the scope.

She felt crushed.  Other people were asking for her help when they had made it impossible for her to help them in any real way.  Anyway, it wasn’t like anyone had sent her a handful load of hearts before.  It wasn’t all bad.  She got one heart once for a rare glimpse of a solar eclipse after she had sat up for hours to catch it on a local hill.  It was then she saw where her power lay.  She would call herself hippy and lean into her 1970s crystal loving tree hugging identity.

Going home she looked forward to broadcasting more.  She had even purchased a mobile battery pack to power her fairy lights for the occasion.  It would be worth her trouble.  Still if she could establish herself as a name of periscope and got mentioned by a journalist all the pain she had known since childhood would be worth it.

Her sole online viewer had left a comment.  She skipped over it in her rush to jump on twitter and salvage her lost followers.  The comment said –

“I like this girl. I tried to watch her scope. It was gone. She had deleted it. I was sad. It was her first go at the periscope and those first times are always special.  I felt bad for her and I said I hope she did another one again soon. Scopes become valuable to me. I sit down to watch a whole load more. Another day gone”

Although social media is cheap, messages are irreplaceable when they’re gone and she had missed out on the beauty of the melancholy in the viewers message.

Another tweet she sent out was by mistake. Her phone was perched in her study and all she saw was books she had to clear out to make space for this something new she badly needed. The phone had accidentally recorded the sight of the old books and sent the feed to Twitter. Now the clutter was gone all she had to remember her student days by was a tweet. She was glad she didn’t have to read words anymore. Social media was the way forward and in 24 hours even that record would disappear forever. Unless someone saw it first and spotted the titles then they would have seen her for who she really was.  And that was what she could not risk.  Periscope always felt safer than real life.

 

 

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