Like most people, I woke up this morning to the news of the devastating earthquake that’s hit North-east Japan. I was in the car for an hour listening to the drama unfold on Radio 5Live, and every time my car stopped in the rush hour traffic I hit refresh on Facebook, quickly checked Skype and even made a quick phone call or two.
Why all the activity?
Because I’ve got a friend in Japan. And I can’t get hold of him.
Back at my desk now: I’ve got Facebook chat open, Skype open, MSN open and have tried his mobile a couple of times. The company he works for is big in technology, so I’m betting he’ll have roaming active on his phone. If the mobile networks are working of course.
I last spoke to him on Wednesday: just briefly via Facebook and it was nothing more than the usual “what you up to” chat where nothing’s really discussed but you get to know you’re both alive and well.
And that seems like an awful long time ago now.
I know when we spoke that he said he was leaving Japan on Friday and, with the time difference, there’s a chance he’s already high in the clouds, disaster unfolding behind him, and is in complete incommunicado.
It seems crazy in this day and age that I’m playing a waiting game. Waiting to find out he’s ok. That almost inevitably, he’s safe and sound. Possibly even oblivious to what’s happened back in Japan.
All this technology. All these methods of communication. And they’re all so fragile. A cable snaps. A dictator flicks a switch. The wind picks up… and we lose our connection to the outside world.
Some say that the world’s got smaller but right now it feels as huge as it always was.
Update: I discovered over the weekend that he flew out of Japan three hours before the ‘quake hit.