Haida Gwaii is made up of many different kinds of families. There are families of people, families of deer, families of fish, and families of teenagers (who roam the streets at night pondering their next uprising.)
But because I am socially inept and generally stay away from most life forms, I have joined a different kind of family (Don’t worry, my wife is well aware of this. Well, she is now anyway.) My family is comprised of anonymous life forms — I’m guessing at the life form part — and calls itself ‘Baconpants.’ Our leader is the fearless warrior Slaygathor (‘Slay’ for short, ‘Slayga’ for medium.). We gather in a magical realm called the ‘Intraweb’ and plunder our way across endless digital landscapes leaving ruin and metadata in our wake.
There are other members of my family who go by different names:
Destroyer Creator of Myths
Alba the Ukrainian Tasmanian
McBailey “Hands Up,” or Jailey
Groo “Mess You Up” with a Flu
(Groo and McBailey were never good at names.)
I don’t know any of these characters in real life, but they assure me they are human (which I am not entirely buying) and that they are not *catfishing me (which is why I freely gave them all my personal and banking information.)
But as someone once asked me at the Crow’s Nest while I was waiting for three million kids to order ice cream: “If I can’t see them, are they really my friends?” It’s a valid question in this digital age and I think it deserves an answer.
That answer is yes, of course they are! Just because I can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t my friends! If it did, it would mean if you suddenly lost your eyes in, say, a horrific bowling accident, then you couldn’t have friends either! Which would be terrible for you and the bowling alley.
So, by scientific reasoning, the virtual friends question is totally invalid and asking it was a waste of everyone’s time (as it didn’t make the line move any faster.)
Here on Haida Gwaii, where the ocean and lack of housing limit our population, it can be nice to virtually exist in an imaginary world. Flights aren’t cheap and that ferry ride is a “one and done” kind of adventure. The Intraweb can provide a nice place to meet strangers and accept, alis aquilae, that they will be of use during the apocalypse and won’t really post that pic of you on Facebook.
I have to admit that when I first bought myself some Intraweb, I was skeptical. I thought it would be a huge waste of time and money and I would spend all of my time on it and begin to completely ignore the outside world until I became a kind of zombie-like slave to the screen. And you know what? I have. And although I couldn’t tell you the colour of the sky if my life depended on it, I’m slightly entertained and not entirely depressed about my lack of “real world experiences.”
So, the next time you find yourself in despair because you feel like everyone on this island is out to get you and the library is closed — again! — remember that the web could solve all your problems if you just give it your banking info, no questions asked.
*Catfishing (verb): To lure someone into a relationship using a fictional online persona. Not to be confused with cat fishing, the dangerous game of using cats for bait.