My alarm goes off at 6 (there’s another one going off in 10 minutes) and I’m up – there are three messages on my phone and about fifteen emails from Groupon even though I swear I unsubscribed the moment I moved away from civilization last month.
“Finally figured out the song that was stuck in my head all day yesterday. It took me an hour on iTunes, but I did it.” I snort-laugh, and fall back asleep.
“Hey, I know you were really stressed about today, but I just wanted to let you know that we’re going to make it through” a friend greets me from several time zones ahead. “We really are”. She’s already lived through a couple hours of today, so I decide to trust her.
“If you’re serious about running away,” counters my friend working nights while I work days (we haven’t talked outside of text messages in weeks), “I will be right behind you. Just give me a time and a place.”
I send out good morning texts to four different time zones and then start scrolling through Twitter. My heart breaks four times before breakfast, but I think, “at least I’m aware. That has to count for something.”
I scroll through Instagram while I drink tea and pretend I’m not running late. There are so many people from past chapters of my life leading overwhelmingly beautiful lives right now. I scroll, and I scroll, and I think: “I’m so glad she’s getting to travel the world. She loves traveling” (like); “I’m so glad he’s one step closer to the dream he had when I knew him” (like); “The smiles on their faces are unreal, I hope it’s not weird that I’m still happy that they’re happy” (like. . . unlike. . . like); “Oh my gosh we’re in the same place we have to meet for coffee! No really! We do!” (Sometimes we do, and it’s a delight. Who would have ever thought our stories would align again here?)
Out to the car. I pay for Spotify Premium solely so that I can listen through all of the song recommendations my sister sends me via Facebook instead of walking down the hall to my room. I’ve got a 45 minute drive, and I make it through half of them.
I pull into my parking spot and there’s a text from my grandparents – a selfie of them at our traditional breakfast place in London. “Missing you at breakfast!” they say with an egg emoji. I send three crying emojis back.
Everything at work is on the computer. Patient charts and handouts. Assessment instructions and last-minute research on wheelchair measurements. A YouTube video reminding me how to transfer someone without injuring my back. A Google search for resources to offer a patient I met for the first time fifteen minutes ago.
I use my phone for a timer and see a message from my friend three hours behind me “Good morning! Hope everyone’s days are going well!”
“I went back to your favourite café!” My roommate sends me a picture of my favourite bagel while I eat my tragically bagel-free lunch. “But also the house centipedes followed me to my new place and this wasn’t part of the deal.” (She doesn’t send a picture of the centipede, and I am grateful).
We may not be within shouting distance of each other anymore, but at least we’re still aware of recent bug sightings in each other’s lives.
I use Google Maps on my phone to find a patient’s address for a home visit.
“I can’t remember” pings my group chat, “What’s the normal range of motion for arm abduction?” Thankfully someone else remembers, because I do not.
Time to go home. I try calling two different friends using my car’s Bluetooth but neither picks up. Back to Spotify.
One calls back, “I was just about to call you! I’m on my way home too!” She traverses the metro in Montreal while I speed past fields of cows and then promptly get stuck behind a tractor. “Are you doing okay? You didn’t sound like yourself in your texts yesterday”
Supper is strictly no-phones-allowed, a rule my mom originally implemented for my sister and I but that now also applies to my Dad. The rule is partially to prevent us from disappearing into our separate worlds, but mostly to prevent us from Googling the answers to interesting questions that come up while we eat.
I work online most days (because it’s a gig economy, don’t you know). I answer questions from authors using our virtual office’s app, then edit an article on WordPress and save three interesting Reddit threads for some story ideas I might use next week. That’s enough for tonight.
The sunset outside is incredible so I snap five pictures in a row ignoring my phone’s insistence that my storage is almost full.
“Is it okay if my friend watches TV with us tonight?” my sister asks, coming into my room with her computer. We put her friend on speaker phone and with a “3. . . 2. . . 1” press play on Netflix at the exact same moment. We’ll talk about this episode in a group chat dedicated to trash tv later.
I watch a Snapchat story of one of my friends adventuring through places I love with all of my heart and send eighteen heart emojis back because my heart just overflows every time I see her smiling in front of red sand.
I receive three pigeon photos from three people in three different countries because the hashtag #ThingsBriHatesForBri has now spread to people I will likely never meet in real life.
“I’ve decided asparagus looks like dragon tails” one of my best friends says at 9:38pm. I have nothing to say in response because what DO you say to that.
“I can’t believe he did this!” appears in yet another group chat. We immediately begin dissecting the screenshots of a Tinder conversation she’s having.
When we were younger, we used to print out MSN conversations to pore over in the high school hallways. This is so much more efficient (especially now that we only see each other once every few months for made-up holidays).
I can’t fall asleep because of my Dad, Uncle, and Papa live-texting the hockey game in the family group chat. They’re so ridiculous that I’m not even mad.
“Help,” I say to my friend, tossing and turning, “I’ve had the lyrics to Downtown stuck in my head for an hour.” She sends every single lyric back to me. One line at a time.
I send out one text to three different friends. “I’m really not sure that I can handle tomorrow,” I say “I’m feeling really overwhelmed and it’s just been so hard.” There’s no response. One’s working and the other two have been asleep for hours.
But, I know when I wake up there will be three messages waiting for me, all promising me that it’s going to be okay.