“Do you have one of these?” The barista inquired, holding up an electronic loyalty card. No stamps, just a mag strip on the back.
“Oh, no, but I’ll need one.”
“Of course,” he agreed, smiling.
“Yep… I’ll be stopping in most Sunday mornings…” I say, filling the space between songs playing in the empty coffee shop. It was a few minutes after eight.
The barista behind the espresso machine looked up and nodded. We all introduced ourselves with the friendly-abrupt-choppy tone that I’ve heard (and come to use) when mocking the businesspeople that run this town. I took my coffee, sat down to write for a few minutes, and I made a plan to leave the house earlier every Sunday morning to attend to this new ritual. After all, I had just been recognized as a regular.
We are currently experiencing a state of social media apocalypse. Exes, old coworkers, people you vaguely knew from high school and social circles– they’re zombies. They have thrust their hands through the topsoil of your past, extricated themselves from their graves, and have limped to a nearby computer to access the web to send you a multi-platform social media friend request.
Consider the zombie: a person you forgot or otherwise intentionally excised from your life, because maintaining a friendship was too difficult, irrelevant, or was linked to great bundles of shame that you weighed down with rocks and flung into a river (the one that ran under the bridge of your friendship, before you burned it). They connect with you on social media, but you don’t interact with each other, either virtually or in real life– it’s a dead line of communication, yet you’re still both allowing it under a mutual acceptance of voyeurism.
On the second Friday of September 2014, I was beginning my preparations to move. I was also out picking up liquor to make cocktails for a few friends that evening. And as I perused the shelves of mixers–little did I know– my home was being burglarized.