The thought, planning and decoration took many months. There were so many things to consider, so many great ideas to incorporate. The ruddy mixture of excitement and potential kept them awake while they poured themselves into their work building their emperor’s new clothes. There wasn’t the slightest doubt, nor any occasional pause. Just their march to freedom.
Like everyone before them, they thought their space was different, was unlike all the other surrounding and interlocking spaces. Most thought theirs was the most honest, original and successful. Theirs was the one where they had got everything right, they were the ones to finally understand everything that had gone before. Out of all the others, theirs was the one that was going to change things, and because of that previous rules did not apply.
Over the years they had visited many many other spaces – over any given day they may have passed through as many as two or three dozen. They absorbed ideas, ideals and information. They thought they had seen every possible layout and configuration and had seen the horizon where infinity begins to break. They felt ever more confident that they were right, that they had always been right, and that they were going to be proved right.
“It seems to me I spend my life in stations. Going, coming, standing, waiting” Dirk Bogarde
As soon as he got off the train and walked down the platform all he could think about was getting back on the train and finding his seat by the window. He continued to walk straight and deliberately with only occasional gentle pauses to allow a more meandering fellow passenger their required space. Soon he was up the stairs and out into the main station concourse and just as he left the last step he could hear the related whistles and door slams and the sound of the train begin to ease itself from the company of the platform and move out of the station and away into the long day.
As he left the station and went out into the morning, patiently letting people pass in front of him, politely ushering rushing people before him, all that he was really thinking about – he looked once back over his shoulder – was the train still at the platform.
The sun was breaking out before him, casting the passing people in that bright light only seen on crisp early autumn mornings. He saw faces but noticed no detail. They passed in droves, towards him and beyond him. Many rushing, some wandering, a few stopping suddenly. As he walked he paid close attention to each step. At each footfall he felt the pressure of his weight and the arch of his back in a synchronous movement not always comfortable. Occasionally, he looked down and noticed the unevenness of the pavement and how it broke apart in patches. His restlessness searched for patterns where no patterns existed, a behaviour that stretched all the way back as far as he could remember.
When he got to work and rode the lift to his floor all he could think of was going back to the station, walking down the platform and getting back on the train and finding that seat by a window.
When our web time began we began to develop new kinds of relationships, we came across new kinds of people. People we would not normally meet in the street, at work, through family and friends. It was an exciting time. We *met* people in streets we’d never visited and people we had no previous connections with. We could track people without it being (too) creepy and feel we knew them. We got influenced by some of them. We ended up really liking some of them. Some of them even occasionally noticed us too. Over the years some of them we met but lots of them we didn’t. When we met these some of them some of them we got on with, many of them we didn’t. We often got disappointed and spent time rethinking what we thought about them. These knowing and following relationships went up and down, round and round. People dropped in, dropped out. Some grew really strong, some faded. Some went really wrong. The magnifying glass got bigger, trust waned and our cynicism grew stronger.
Are we more likely to like people more if we meet them in the flesh or is it preferable to keep them safely at an avatar distance? How long do web heroes last?