At first the quiet was unnerving. Around the world and all at once browsers stalled, then froze, then GPFed; screens flickered on and off; cursors stuck to their place; a torrent of half-regurgitated, self-reflective musings of millions dwindled very fast, then died forever instantly. Phones died; iPads died; WiFi SSIDs slipped away from this reality, one by one, like bored party guests, unapologetic and hurrying to the door.
We were alone with our thoughts.
It was unnervingly quiet. Normally we would raise a communal cry that would shake the foundations of the earth – like we did on that great Livejournal blackout of 2007, or the smaller, frequent ones on Twitter; but our means to raise such cries were all shut down. The media that would inform us of the tragedy died too. We turned with unfamiliar hands to radio and television but, for the first long minutes after it all flickered away, the old news reported old news. We were indeed alone. Some of us speculated whether this loneliness was how Man lived before – and, shaken, others turned to touch or talk to family and pets.
It was quiet – and then, after many scary minutes, an army of sounds invaded: neighbors’ conversations and the sounds of cars driving by and dogs exchanging howls; and televisions and radios all around, reporting old news. They were all there before, but useless, unheeded. With horror, we asked ourselves where all of that noise hid so far and, then, fearfully, if it would ever go back there again.
Minutes turned into hours, but nothing came back and nothing lived and no one would tell us what happened. We left our devices, dead, on tables, and looked up, and got out, and met IRL, and talked nervously for hours, and listened to neighbors’ conversations and television shows and dogs’ howls.