Lindsey Hart never found herself sneakily identifying “possible crazies” the way her friends constantly and obsessively did during Sunday brunch. In fact, ever since Craydarate debuted as an app she tried to convince whoever she could not to use it. She hated to see the secret mugshots of innocent people distributed around the world. She felt that the use of the app only led to people feeling more negative about themselves and the world. “And besides,” she’d always reason, “you can’t judge a person’s sanity based on minor actions. You can’t condemn a person to craziness without getting to truly know them.” And of course some people agreed with her, but they liked the freedom to be able to submit a person’s face to Craydarate if they really felt that he or she gave off a majorly crazy vibe; and then there were those who felt the existence of Craydarate catalyzed a movement of people watching their every word and action, more so than any other social media platform.
Lindsey found herself slowly becoming the minority in a situation she never thought she’d need an opinion for; and as Craydarate exploded, reaching over 10 million users, she felt that maybe she needed to download the app or risk becoming a face on someone’s phone; and that’s all she did. She downloaded it, kept it on her phone, alone, on the last page she never scrolled over to. She didn’t open Craydarate once for three months, but made sure her friends knew she had the app, sometimes pretending to be on it, taking pictures of random people when her friends were only halfway paying attention. But, other than that, she almost never thought about it. And her friends forgot she’d been a naysayer, so the warmth that’d disappeared in their relationship quickly returned to its healthy state.
During Sunday brunch in a small, coffee shop called Lionel’s Cafe she sat with her friends, enduring a conversation about who in the cafe might be crazy. Lindsey suggested a few people, but also suggested the others take the picture since her phone was about to die. And then one of her friends said something that caught Lindsey off guard.
“Lindsey…” the petite girl said, the smallest one of the bunch, her lips trembling as she stared with wet eyes at Lindsey. “You’ve been Craydarated.”
Brunch stopped. The guys and girls around the table dropped their utensils and looked at Lindsey, sitting at the head of the table. She faked a smile, but felt the eyes forcing her to respond truthfully and her lips drooped quickly.
“What?” she said, trying to sound innocent, defending herself for reasons she didn’t understand yet.
The petite friend turned her phone to Lindsey and there she was, staring at an almost full picture of her face, but small and far away. Lindsey knew it was her.
“Well,” she said, stuttering, “how do we know that’s me? I mean, it’s kind of far away, right?”
“Sure,” one of the guys said, “but it’s tagged at Lionel’s Cafe and there’s no one else with platinum blonde hair here.”
Lindsey slunk into her chair. Tears had never come so quickly and heavily. But amidst the embarrassment of having her photo on Craydarate she felt content. Her friends knew she wasn’t crazy, knew she hadn’t done anything crazy and knew she was the least likely of them all to do something crazy, so they laughed it off and continued with brunch, the closest ones to her wiping away her tears with smiles.
The brunch took another turn, though, when the petite girl who noticed Lindsey’s photo let out a squeak and dropped her fork, then her phone. The guy sitting beside her picked it up, looked at it, then quickly put it face down on the table. He looked around at the group.
“She’s on it,” he said, turning back to the petite girl with a grave look. The silence was realer than before. Not one, but two of them had been tagged and condemned.
“Well,” said a girl in between Lindsey and the petite one, “you are kind of talkative.”
The petite girl pursed her lips and lowered her eyes. “Talkative? You think ‘talkative’ earns me a spot on the crazy list?”
“I don’t know! I’m just brainstorming.”
And brainstorm they did, all the while each of them checking their phones, every five minutes one of their faces appearing on the app until all of them were officially Craydarated. The brunch turned into a divorce-talk dinner. No one understood or tried to understand, the disappointment flooding their brains made it hard to think. But, finally, Lindsey spoke up.
“Well, we know it’s someone in the cafe, obviously,” she started, looking around at the twenty or so nonchalant faces interacting with each other or themselves, more than half of them holding their phones. “Someone playing a prank on us? I mean, it’s not hard to take a picture of someone and post it. I’m sure there’re plenty of assholes who go around taking pictures of other people to make themselves feel better.” The petite girl stood up.
“Well, there’s only one thing to do,” she said. She used the stool to climb on the table and positioned her body to face the majority of the customers. “Okay, people,” she began, “my friends and I are having a nice, quiet lunch together and somehow we’ve all wound up on Craydarate. Anyone want to fess up and tell us why you put us on here?”
No one moved or said anything. A few people grinned, either knowing what it’s like to wind up on Craydarate or giddy to have food for the app. Thirty seconds went by, the petite girl standing like a tub-thumper waiting to collect followers after a cafe sermon, but no one confessed.
The brunch continued awkwardly. The customers laughed off her outburst and went back to their dialogue heavy meals, but Lindsey’s group knew they’d have to get out of there soon enough. They grabbed the check quickly and moved towards the door, hoping their absconding wasn’t the center of attention in their most frequented cafe. Lindsey led the line, her eyes locked on the door, static, her face keeping a hard, sane expression. She went to push the door open, but a girl in pink overalls and a sparkly, silver shirt underneath with Timberlands on her feet stepped in front of them.
“Hi!” she said, sticking out her hand, a huge smile on her face.
“Uh, hi?” Lindsey said, looking back towards her friends, who all looked at each other.
“So, um, basically I just wanted to tell you that I’m the one who Craydarated you guys.” Her smile grew larger after confessing.
“Okay, um, why?” Lindsey chose now, for reasons she didn’t understand, to stick out her hand.
“So, like,” she started, shoving her hands in her pockets, “I’m like, just trying to get it going, you know?”
“Uh, what?” said the petite girl, stepping in, holding her hands up.
“Like, I’m just trying to make it a thing, you know? Like I broke up with my ex-boyfriend or I, like, cheated on him or whatever and he broke up with me, but anyway he Craydarated me and I was like, ‘okay’ and then I Craydarated him and then I went to sleep and I woke up and I was like ‘this could be a thing’ and so I’ve just been Craydarating people like crazy and I’m just sort of hoping it sticks. I just want to thank you guys for participating, I really appreciate it!” And with that, Overalls turned and left the cafe, strutting down the street through the Sunday brunch crowds.
Lindsey turned to her friends. She couldn’t tell what they were thinking, their confusion realer than she’d ever seen. She couldn’t help but imagine all the people who witnessed the birth of a trend, and wondered if anyone ever witnessed the death of one in person like that. And another part of her thought, “well, at least we know we’re not crazy,” and another part of her thought, “well, I told ya so,” but another part of her, and this took her by surprise, thought that maybe this could be the best thing to ever happen in a world where people hate to think they’re crazy.