Connection Lost (xv)

When he got out of bed for what seemed the final time, Alan found he had very little to do.

In the light of day, and by sobriety’s good graces, the hysteria of the previous evening seemed elusive. Not that it was less justifiable, just that it was harder to lay ahold of. Without that fear to drive him, and that feeling of adventure, and that glow of learning made meaningful in life, Alan was just a guy who couldn’t check his eMail.

He looked out his window. His street was quiet, as it ever was. Brownstone apartments with ivy on their walls ran off in every direction. His little block was nearly a quarter of a mile long, one of the longest in Cambridge. Living halfway between its two cross-streets – Mass and Garden – put Alan about as far as it was possible to be from an ambulance route. This geographic oddity guaranteed a more peaceful space than near any other in Cambridge, Land of a Thousand Sirens.

A blond girl in a red coat walked down the street. She looked Japanese. She didn’t look like she was running from the Infocalypse. In fact she looked like she was doing the Walk Of Shame. She did it with pride. Alan would have been proud to have been shamed by her.

He looked to his computer. He couldn’t read his correspondance. He couldn’t waste time with social media. He couldn’t circle the blogosphere. He couldn’t play flash games. He couldn’t look at porn. He couldn’t do any of his traditional morning toilette.

Suddenly his apartment seemed very small.

The best he could do was overprepare a little more. What the hell, right? What else was there? Alan wondered how many brilliant minds became mountain-men Unabombers simply because they couldn’t think of anything else to do on a Saturday morning.

Water. Yes. Water was the priority. The girls who’d moved out had left behind a homebrewing setup that Alan had been quite looking forward to playing with. It consisted, among other things, of two five-gallon buckets with lids and a bunch of gallon carboys with screw caps. Alan stripped down – closing his blinds before he did so – and then took a hasty shower. He then, one by one, took the buckets and bottles with him into the shower and rinsed them in scalding water. Then he got a funnel and, by holdng the mouth of it right next to the showerhead, he filled them each with water cold and clear. Now he had about fifteen gallons of water in sealed containers. That, he felt, should be enough to survive a pocket apocalypse.

What else? Was there any other food in the house? Alan checked – not really. A few things in the fridge. Closer inspection showed that few of them really qualified as food. One old pizza-box contained the beginnings of an organism that could very well be competition for what food they had. Alan cleaned out the fridge, performed a rite of exorcism (aided by a spray-bottle of bleach), and declared himself the top of the apartment food chain.

What else? He checked his closet. There were 94 cobalt-blue bottles of Bawlz energy beverage, each of which contained enough caffeine analog to run a trip-hammer from noon to sunset. Alan considered that what was good for a midnight coding session might not be quite so useful after the Trump and the Shout. But he didn’t really know. His knowledge of such things was rather limited to Black Isle games and Robert Kirkman comics. Not that this separated him from, y’know, everybody else.

What else, what else? Well, shit-to-do, that was an important thing. There were four or five dozen books in the place, mostly mandatory textbooks and bad fantasy novels. There were a few external hard drives full of God-knows-what in the way of movies and music. There were three e-readers in the apartment, two cheap American smallscreens and a pricey Tokyo manga-reader. Alan charged them all to full battery.

Then it was just a regular Saturday. Then he could do anything he wanted to. Go anywhere. Do anything. What do you do on a Saturday when you can’t look up what’s going on? What do you do on a lazy day when you can’t call up a friend?

Alan made himself a Nutella sandwich and browsed through his data library, looking for a movie he hadn’t seen too many times before.

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~ by davekov on 13 November 2011.

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