It was Tarquin’s year.
While everyone around him was falling to pieces over lockdowns or masks or Trump or Judith Collins, Tarquin had actually quite enjoyed the apocalypse. And then the strangest thing happened.
It was the day that Twitter broke, and he watched both his parents rage-refresh their screens for a solid five minutes before quickly switching over to Facebook where he could see them huddling with their friend groups, people they’d not necessarily even met, trying to figure out what the fuck was going on, worrying and theorising on the cause of it and all the while collectively humiliated at having to use Facebook as a means to stay sane. It was only just the slightest step-up from LinkedIn. Tarquin’s dad had entertained the thought of going over there and perhaps posting a small cry for help amongst his 458 connections, but he figured it wasn’t the best career move.
Tarquin watched his parents, usually calm and collected, turn into two 16 year olds whose WiFi had gone down right in the middle of a Fortnite event.
It had a mildly amusing Pied Piper feel to it. The parents emerged from their respective rooms, almost drifting to the sound of inaudible pipes, to ask what had happened to the Twitter, the bewilderment on their faces only matched when the rugby wasn’t going too well, or dad’s tandoori oven he’d built during Lockdown One wasn’t getting quite get hot enough.
The year of our Lord 2020 kept coming at the middle classes unlike any other year. Tarquin swung back in his gaming chair, hands clasped behind his head.
Have you tried just scheduling the Tweets you want to send?
Dad scowled, openly. Usually mild-mannered, Dad had had a gutsful of 2020. “YES I HAVE TRIED THAT THANK YOU TARQUIN.”
It was quite something to watch. What did they want to tweet about anyway? That they couldn’t tweet? They were doing that over on Facebook and the double dipping seemed a little unnecessary to be honest.
The Dad and the Mum sat there refreshing, wondering what they were missing out on, wondering why the Herald at the very least hadn’t written a story about the outage using people’s Facebook comments, with Tarquin watching and wondering why HIS PARENTS WERE FALLING APART.
And it felt good. Tarquin felt a sense of control and calm wash over him, like his favourite Lynx Toxic body wash.
He slowly got up out of his gaming chair, something that really ordinarily never happened in any meaningful way, walked to the living room and quietly, in a patronising nasally, white middle class tone said:
Why don’t you two put your phones down and use the time to go for a nice walk.
The sound of Dad’s phone being angrily thrown onto the couch was like music to Tarquin’s ears.
Twenty twenty was a good year for Tarquin. Tarquin had arrived.