I signed up for a Snapchat account yesterday. My third of the last few years. When Snapchat first appeared I didn’t have a good enough phone to run it, so carried on with Instagram – posting endless little square photos to the internet for strangers to like and sometimes comment on. The first Snapchat account is still out there somewhere – I fell through some sort of crack in the system, and couldn’t log into it again. I signed up again last year with a new account when the various novelty face filters appeared – and then forgot all about it for months.
You see – and this is probably a surprise to anybody that has followed my blog for any length of time – I don’t tend to use instant messaging apps. Sure, I have tried to keep in touch with one or two people over the last few years – trying out just about every app to find something straightforward (“Telegram” is awesome, for what it’s worth) – but given that I’m on the opposite side of the planet from the majority of those I might keep in touch with, I tend to be asleep when they are awake, and vice versa.
So why on earth did I re-install Snapchat, and KIK yesterday? Maybe hope? Maybe because I’m an eternal optimist – who thinks the best of everybody, and wishes sometimes he had a few people to share the quiet moments with (yeah right – the “quiet moments” – that will be the last hour of the day after clearing chores, while watching Mr Robot in the junk room while eating cereals, and convincing himself that cornflakes at 1am is “supper”).
Isn’t this blog the quiet moments though? I just glanced at the clock – it’s 8:40am. The washing machine and dryer are already on. Clothes have already been folded in the lounge. The dishwasher is already empty, and ready to go for the day ahead. Miss 12 has already left for a soccer match half-way across the county with her Mum, Miss 13 is hiding upstairs in her hell-hole of a room (that I cleaned up for her last week) before her soccer match in an hour, and Miss 17 is stumbling around in her pyjamas – her face glued to her phone.
I suppose I write in the gaps – while waiting for the washing machine, waiting to leave the house, or while doing my best at 1am to avoid the arrival of tomorrow.
The hope is not misplaced though. Late last night a new face appeared in Snapchat – the conversation began with a simple “hello”. I scrambled to figure out how the hell Snapchat worked (yes, it’s still the least intuitive app in the known universe, and I’m a bit rubbish), but I managed to keep the conversation going while fumbling with typing, swiping, and being instructed how to do things mid-conversation. An unlikely bond was forged – a new friend made. After emptying our heads for the next little while, it felt like we had “lucked into” discovering each other – real, genuine people that didn’t post “ASL?” as an introduction.
Maybe there is hope after all. Perhaps the internet hasn’t gone completely to hell – not just yet, anyway. If you would like to join me in defying my admittedly non-existent expectations of KIK and Snapchat, I’m “strangecodex” at both. If not, I’ll still be writing here – almost every day – and rarely about anything of consequence.