Over the last year or so, a forest of radio masts has sprung up around Boomtown – though if you’re expecting the latest 5G technology, you’re going to be disappointed. These are 2.5G masts, recently pulled down in Craggy Island and sold to the government of Boomtown as a cheap job lot – no questions asked!
The masts have however, heralded something of a digital revolution in the metrolopiss (thanks Sid Snot!), changing many aspects of our everyday lives. Not that this change is necessarily for the better.
By far the biggest challenge for the citizens of Boomtown has been passwords – necessary to keep our on-line personas safe. But let’s be honest, a complete and utter pain in the arse. The official stance is that you should not use the same password for everything and make sure you mix letters, numbers and other characters for greatest security. Follow this advice and you end up with dozens of incomprehensible words that meant something once but have been so twisted out of all recognition that you haven’t got a cat in hells chance of remembering them all. Yes, you can carefully write them all down but when do you ever carry your notebook with you? Fortunately, I’ve discovered an app that keeps all my passwords safely locked away with military levels of encryption – unlocked….you guessed it….with another feckin password! I can however, proudly boast that I have a password for my passwords and life feels SO much better!!
Once the digital revolution kicked in, the first kind of webshites to spring up in Boomtown were for on-line dating and one of the most popular is ‘Love Rat’. From the (relative) comfort of your favourite shabby armchair, you can scroll through photos of people with an alarming variety of peccadilloes, hopeful you'll come across someone that takes your fancy. The problem is that the on-line platform gives you so much information, it’s off-putting! Although you can banish the real weirdos with a single downward flick of the finger (accompanied by a digital rodent squeak from the app), what’s left never seems to be particularly inspiring. I’m sorry … you can keep your tech, I prefer the innocence of the good old-fashioned blind date. Yes, a blind date was a jump into the unknown but not knowing that your potential suitor had a preferred frequency for their vibrating love-toys somehow kept the magic alive a bit longer.
People watching was also a great deal more rewarding in the days before the Love Rat app. Despite being ‘top secret’, you could tell straightway who was out at night looking for an antidote to loneliness. Standing in the corner by the subway entrance as if they were involved in some shady dealing, holding the pre-agreed bunch of red roses which were slowly wilting under the onslaught of Boomtown’s acid rain. The look of hesitation on their faces as they scanned the crowd for their date – praying that for once this throw of love’s dice would pay off - and the inevitable look of disappointment when they first set eyes on their date.
What really made me laugh though, were the efforts to look pleased – quickly trying to haul the curtain of disappointment away and to replace it with something – anything - that didn’t make it look like they wanted the ground to swallow them up. But people were nothing if not resolute in those pre-digital days in Boomtown and despite watching a spectrum of emotions flashing across nervous faces, I don’t think I ever saw anyone get jilted. None of the hopeful had any idea what their blind date would lead to but every time without fail, I’d watch those initial looks of disappointment quickly turn into optimism and genuinely warm smiles of hello.