Tuesday, September 07, 2004

six degrees of

We're hurtling toward the Operator's target. Almost halfway, now, to 777 axons activated.

What happens when we hit her benchmark?

Melissa's roads don't run to China yet. But I want to hunt, too.


Took the train to Hangzhou this weekend. Unplugged.

Spent a couple of days being intoxicated by Xi Hu, the West Lake. "Heaven on Earth," they call it. It is a fabulous place, in the most literal sense of the word. Makes you feel like you're absolutely nowhere. That you've somehow figured out how to physically be somewhere that doesn't really exist.


Came back to the city yesterday with a plan. Okay, so I can't get to one of Melissa's ringing payphones myself. But there are lots of cold axons left, in harder-to-get-to places: Ketchikan, Alaska. Hazard, Kentucky. Ronan, Montana. Maybe I can help someone else get them.

Headed straight for the Internet café (where the FPS players now stop knocking off enemies long enough to say hello to me). I searched my gmail archives, in case anyone had ever written me to say wa.é ák.wé? from Ketchikan. No luck: zero messages containing the word Alaska. Similar searches for Hazard and Ronan... nothing.

Then, wracking my brain: Had I ever met anyone from near those coordinates? Had I ever met anyone who had ever met anyone from near those coordinates? I sent off a quick backpacking update to some friends back home. Closed with: "p.s. an odd favor: do you know anyone in Alaska who might be willing to answer a ringing payphone for me?" To a few relatives: "Shanghai's smashing, and by the way, do we have any extended family near Hazard, KY?" To an ex-boyfriend who used to spend his summers leading whitewater rafting trips in Bozeman: "Do you still keep in touch with anyone in Montana?"

Today: No response from the ex-boyfriend yet. (Well. Not surprised.) But a couple of curious replies from friends and fam. "Dana dear, why are you so interested in a payphone in Alaska?!?" And: "Are you serious? As in, the Dukes of Hazard? Why on earth do you ask?" ...

Oh, no special reason. Just that a massive portion of the U.S. payphone infrastructure has been commandeered by an artificial intelligence. Who is broadcasting messages from the future. Which may have a major impact on, oh, I don't know, the fate of humanity.

Anyway: As it turns out, I don't seem to have any friends of friends in Ketchikan, Hazard or Ronan. Time to extend the search by another degree: Do you?