The Lockdown

She had always been the life and soul of the party; always at the top of the guest list, though that was often because it was her party. 

 

When she was invited to other people’s events, she never declined. Weddings, birthdays, dinner parties; whatever it was, friends knew that Freya would always be there, always dressed to impress, always shining. 

 

Freya the reliable, Freya the sociable, Freya the friend of friends. Freya who had more than 600 connections on Facebook and many more on Instagram. 

 

Life for Freya was busy. She was never alone; always surrounded by the noise of the crowd, whether online or offline.

 

And then came lockdown. It arrived without warning, one Saturday, as a third pandemic swept the world. She awoke, hungover from the previous night’s revelries and grabbed her phone. As she did every morning, she clicked first on the familiar white F on blue background and waited for her timeline to appear. How many likes had her picture posted on the way home received? Who had liked it? Who, more importantly, hadn’t?  

 

The App wouldn’t load. She closed it and tried again. A familiar flickering wheel briefly appeared, and then suddenly, in place of her timeline, a message appeared: “Facebook is currently unavailable due to lockdown restrictions.”

 

“What the F…?” 

 

She grabbed her remote control and flicked the television on. Someone was being interviewed, but she didn’t need to hear what was being said because the ticker message along the bottom of the screen told her that something was very, very wrong:

 

Total Lockdown…. Social Media Offline in “Interests of National Unity”.

 

“It’s a brave, but dangerous decision by the government”, the old guy being interviewed was saying. “Civil liberty groups are calling it a coup. But others will be looking at how social media has been weaponised, and used to turn people against each other, especially in the second pandemic of 2024. Those people will argue that this is actually a move in favour of freedom.”

 

Freya threw the remote at the screen. It shattered and abruptly died.

 

What was she going to do? How would she survive?

 


 

The lockdown lasted months. When it did end, it took Freya until the end of the day to hear the news, because she was busy putting the finishing touches to her third online photography exhibition. It was with a mixture of hope, excitement and sadness that she learnt that the world had suddenly shifted once more. 

 

She missed the restoration of Facebook because she’d long since removed the app from her phone, which, she recalled, was probably in a drawer in the living room. 

 

She would not, she decided, be returning to the suffocating loneliness of the crowd. Life, she realised, was not a numbers game.

Rod Webb
Jun 27 2020

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Comments:

Indeed a great lesson I think we should all learn! (Although I'm aware of the irony of me hitting the "like" button!)
Love your last line!

Paul Sterlini
Sep 25 2020