In my literary brain the title of this post would be something touching, poignant, reflective. But nope, in the real world, that’s not going to happen, because I really just want to say: WTF?
Hands up if you have SKYPE? And hands up if you think that when that blue circle posts a red number above it it means someone tried to call you? Given that my whole family lives in Israel and that the Jewish sabbath (Shabbat) begins tonight, I figured maybe one of my family members Skyped me to wish me Shabbat Shalom or to rub in the fact that outside of Israel Passover is 8 days (as opposed to 7 there), I clicked on the Skype button wondering how I’d not heard the Skype phone ring.
But it wasn’t a call at all. It was a birthday reminder notification (I forgot that Skype does that). This is what popped up on my Skype screen:
FUCK!! That was my first response. Followed by FUCK, FUCK, FUCK! And then I looked at the little green squiggly circle on the left that told me that Randall Taylor was “offline.” Of course he’s fucking offline! Because he’s dead! Died by his own hand (with a handgun to the head to be precise) – exactly 6 months, one week and one day ago (but who is counting, right?).
And I’m sitting here thinking, how the fuck does his Skype account still exist? Did his family not switch it off? Are they unaware he had one? And even if they were aware, wouldn’t you need a password to know how to delete the damn account?
Now, it’s not like Randall and I ever really Skyped. He was my best friend, and my next door neighbour, so no need to Skype, right? He set it up years ago for when I was overseas and he was taking care of my dog – so we could chat and discuss important things like: How did Bronte enjoy her walk? How much cottage cheese did you include in her food today? You know, important stuff.
This is why I never even thought to delete his Skype profile from my list because it was so rarely used. But today (and it’s not like I forgot today would have been his birthday), I was completely winded when this reminder popped up. It was like being kicked in the solar plexus. The Internet age is bad enough in life – but it’s terrifying the web it weaves even in death. The body is gone, the soul – who knows where? – but you’re online life is there: taunting, teasing, those left behind. There’s a brief moment where you think “I can click on that ‘send a gift’ button, and somehow the present will magically wend its way to wherever they now reside in cyberspace, and hey, I might even get an automatically generated ‘thank you’ note in return.”
The memories in my heart, in my soul, and the reminders around my home – even the space between my grief – still cradle Randall. He’s everywhere and he’s nowhere. He’s in the lump in my throat, the pain that sometimes threaten to stop my heart and he bloody well sits on my therapist’s bookcase every time I walk into his office. And these things make me cry and yearn and ache.
But this? This assault from cyberspace? From Skype? All it does is make me livid and inarticulate and broken and beaten down. As if every tiny step I’ve taken over the last six months to heal, to move on, to figure out a life without my best friend and neighbour, is some big, cosmic, joke.
And all that I can think, all that I can say is FUCK! Because there are no other words. No other thoughts.
And no, it does not escape me that I’m writing this post on the Internet.
But I’m still going to say it.
Fuck the Internet.
That is all.