Thursday, September 29, 2011


…and then came the day when my Twitter followers showed up at my home.

This was, it goes without saying, unexpected. 329 people standing under my balcony as I headed out for my morning cigarette left me quite at a loss for words. But I suppose they had pledged to follow me, so I oughtn’t have been surprised by the turn of events.

I’m just grateful I was wearing pants.

I suppose they were too.

Getting to work was tougher than I’d expected, that number of people tends to stop traffic as it crosses intersections. And our arrival terrified the day manager.

He’d thought they were looking for a meal, and we don’t have the staff for that many during lunch shift.

He was enormously relieved, if still somewhat disturbed, to learn that they were simply there to follow me.

Eventually, after my third table complained about not being able to enjoy their lunch in peace, I was sent home. I’d arrived willing to work in good faith, but the throng made anything resembling productivity impossible. It’s a shame, I could have used the tips, but I understand why I was cut. And paying me through to the end of the week while I attempted to sort things out was a classy move.

There was, we realized upon our return, no way they’d all be fitting into my apartment.

It was a smallish place, but Kat and I had never needed that much space and it’d suited our purposes to that point. Finding room for an additional 329 occupants, however, wasn’t going to fly. Still, it was the tail end of summer, the weather was still gorgeous, and if the other tenants in my building had a problem with a tent city cropping up in the courtyard they were too terrified by the weird, cult-like nature of the gathered people to bring it up.

I guess it was natural that they’d be a little bit terrified. I sort of was too.

I’d never meant to form a cult via Twitter.

Though I suppose, upon reflection, that running a Twitter account does hold certain superficially cult-like qualities.

You share your thoughts with the world and hope to attract followers that hang on your every word, and the more people who follow you the more powerful you feel.

In person, however, a few hundred people waiting for my next missive swiftly began to feel oppressive.

There are only so many jokes, quips and puns about pop-culture minutiae and politics I can be expected to make. And a real crowd is tougher to ignore when I’m tired than a smartphone with a flashing red light.

I had followers, but I was quickly learning that I wasn’t cut out to lead.

I attempted to explain this, but I couldn’t figure out how to phrase how conflicted their presence left me using only 140 characters. Eventually I gave up and took the easy way out.

They packed up their tent city, I threw some things into a bag and we set out on a pilgrimage.

We’re heading west. In search of Conan O’Brien. We’re going to follow him a while, hopefully he’ll lead us better than I did.

I expect he will.

From what my Blackberry tells me, we won’t be the only ones there…

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