He’s trapped in the App. I gotta code a latter to get him out .
Boring Tuesday night, I was beating the heat and strolling through Tinder profiles. Wind blowing through my hair, I heard something suspicious. Someone was mumbling. I held my breath for a second. No, he was screaming. The voice was rather low, but I could hear the jitter, the angst, and the fear.
Out of curiosity and humanity, I had to swipe right on him.
Boom, it’s a match.
A chat window popped out. We were connected. We were able to communicate.
I opened the window. I saw an extremely long, stretched-out, X-Pro II filtered vortex with millions of codes rapidly passing through. The filter was pretty but made everything vague. I could only see a dim figure in the gloom.
“How long has he stuck in here?” I sighed, let me get this poor man out of here.
“Guys? Ladies? Hey…hey guys?” he yelled, “Uhh..I’m stuck in this App. I know it sounds strange. But you gotta believe me. I’m not saying that I’m addicted to using it. No, hell no. I’m literally TRAPPED INSIDE OF THIS APP!! Can anyone hear me? Can you hear me clearly? I’m ambushed. I’m trapped. I’m now stuck in the app. I’m not really sure what happened but I… I was using it on my phone and then I just got sucked into this…this vortex and now I can’t go back. And the worst part is, I think it’s slowly taking over… there’s this constant orange glow around my head that fills me with an insatiable urge to find people. Countless codes are crawling over me and I just can’t… I can’t get rid of it. They’re all over me. Don’t get me wrong. I swear, I swear with my faith to make America great again, I wasn’t looking for anything serious, I was just swiping, swiping, and using this app. All of a sudden, I was here. I have no idea what happened. Oh God, I need to get out. Someone please help. Ahh…”
I thought about interrupting him and helping him calm down for a second. But it would be a wild goose chase.
“Hey, you anxiety riddled chatterbox,” I greeted.
“Despite the fact that we’ve never met, you’ve somehow managed to perfectly encapsulate who I am in three words,” he said, “to say that I’m impressed would be a vast understatement.”
“First of all, thank you. But I thought your earlier statement made it quite obvious. Second of all, I don’t think you have time for small talks, do you? ”
“No, I don’t.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, you said you don’t know what happened,” I realized, “Sounds like you’re in pain. How can I help you, Sir?”
“Thanks for coming. I really appreciate it. I’ve been trapped here for hours, oh no, for days. You know what, honestly, I’m not sure how long I’ve been here. Isn’t that pathetic? Let’s say I’ve been here forever.”
“Okay…” I said, “I’d be glad if I can give a hand.”
“You know I’m a real person, right?”
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t going to scare you. I just want to tell you, I am a human being,” he said, “a few people came before you and they all left because they thought I was a pre-programmed robot.”
“That’s a fair assumption,” I said.
Wait, is he real? I moved a little bit closer, trying to see his face. Damn, the filter made it really hard for me to capture the real scene in front of me. The color correction, the light adjustment, the unreal contrast, and the annoying vignette and tilt-shift.
And the square, why is everything squared?
“Hello?” he yelled again, “are you still there?”
Geez, I can’t think. This man didn’t give me time to think. But anyway, who cares if he is a real person or not? I was on it. I took the adventure, like I always bragged about. I swung into action.
“Hey there,” I said, “can I ask you out? Is it the only way to get you out of this trap?”
“Yeah, that seems to be the only way I’m able to escape. Or at the very least, could you please send me a care package of food Emojis? There is nothing to eat here except 0s and 1s. Unfortunately, they’re not very filling.”
“Sorry sir, I’m anti-Emoji. I disabled the emoji keyboard.”
“Oh God, I’ll never eat again. I respect that, though. You just sent me to my death bed. But I respect that.”
The poor man brought out my potential.
“But I’m Gif-friendly.” I sent him a keyboard-shaped waffle.
“My stomach thanks you,” he said, “now it would be great if you could send a ladder down to me so that I could escape for good. “
I found a ladder Gif and sent it over.
“It isn’t working! I’ll just stay here forever. I know, I know I will never get out of this shitty place.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll come up with some other ways to get you out, eventually.” I’m not sure if I really thought so.
“Thank you, sweetheart. Thanks for buying my story. I know it’s hard to believe, but you believed it. I really appreciate that. You know everyone before you didn’t give a shit about me. I was surprised you came and you stayed. It’s a lovely surprise. I don’t have a lot of lovely surprises in my entire life. I’m 27 and I still haven’t left this area that I’ve grown up in. “
“Yeah, born and raised. I had to swipe left and right to choose parents,” he laughed. It was a genuine laugh. Even though I cannot really see it, I can hear it and I can feel it.
“Listen, girl. I’m a complex yet simple person. I always get anxious about many things. I mess up my thoughts and words. I open my mouth and start talking, and no one can stop me. I would keep talking even if I got nothing running in my mind, I would just keep talking about what I already talked about and repeating and repeating again. But when it comes to things I really care about, things I see them crucial, I’m more of a thinker. I take care of things, whether it’s friendship, office drawer, or dirty laundry. I take care of them. I don’t get mad easily and I always have a plan. I also believe everyone has either a good or gift in them, even Hitler, a bully at a school who picks on you, or a fussy kid who asks you a million questions per day and claims to be an adult, like me. I really like it here, where I grew up. I used to do a lot of people-watching in the tiny little coffee shop dwarfs by a huge grocery store in the very corner of my neighborhood. I was intrigued and fascinated. Everybody was so different. That’s what made this country the best on earth.”
The codes kept running through the vortex. But his face became clear.
“And now, Trump is going to build a wall? To unify? “ he shouted, “I can’t imagine one day I finally get out of the trap and see Donald Trump is still a thing in the universe. I’d rather come back here, being trapped in this App.”
“You’ll always find a way out,” I said, “Let me tell you my story. I grew up inside the real Great Wall.”
“You are trapped somewhere, too? I’ll get you out of that wall!”
I giggled. “Thanks but listen, you know censorship is still a thing, right? I didn’t have access to Google, Facebook, and Instagram for the past 21 years of my life. But on the bright side, what I saw is what the real world looked like.
There was no fully-functioned search engine. I had to go out to explore and discover things by myself. Sometimes I got beautiful surprises and serendipities. Sometimes I got shit. Well, most times maybe. But that’s okay. I got used to it and I learned from it.
There was no social network. I didn’t have to deal with profile pictures and friends requests. No one could tag me in his/her pictures, or post anything on my timeline. I lived with my own real-life timeline which I had full control on.
There was no Instagram nor its annoying filters. The sky was gray and there was no star at night. I saw auto exhaust. I saw muddy water. I saw dirty secrets, underground deals, love affairs, and fake smiles. What I saw made me strong.
Believe me, sometimes it’s hard to tell whether its good to live inside or outside the Great Wall. Like wise, you don’t know being trapped in the App is a bad thing or not.”
“You forget to drop the mic, lady.”
“Nah. I just want you to feel better, to think positive. Now technology numbs you, it also inspires you to think.”
“Wait, what did you say? Technology?” he got extremely excited, “Technology! I should have thought about it earlier! Technology can save my life. Do you happen to know anyone good at coding?”
“Yeah! Technology! Let me code you a ladder to get you out.”
I see the world.
I see the moon and stars.
And everything seems to be just like what it used to be when I left it.
You’re a life-saver.
And not the candy. ”
The iteration got him out.
I gave him a hug.
“By the way, I’m Hannah. Nice to meet you :)”