Hello world.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I would not have had any reason to care, if it had not been for H. It's been years and many things have changed since he was at KEK, not the least of which was switching majors, but he still knows people from those days, some of whom were still in Ibaraki as far as he knew. It became apparent from the downing of the home page servers and the news reports coming in from Ibaraki Prefecture that KEK had not escaped damage, though how bad there was no way of knowing.

The moment I found out about the earthquake, I remember for a fact that he had his cell phone in one hand, though my imagination supplies the other&#8212possibly dramatized&#8212details: the furrowed brows, the slumped shoulders, the tightening grip on the phone.

It was the first thing he did once he saw the news flash: call people. All but one had&#8212thankfully&#8212returned to Korea before the actual quake, but by then, it didn't matter anymore whose teacher, whose colleague, whose friend had been hurt or not. We became grave for the rest of the day, and for several days afterwards. There but for the grace of God go I.

Then finally...

"Hello world."

...were the first words seen on the KEK home page since after the quake, the first response in days of failed connections. There was nothing, only those two words on a white screen, but at least it wasn't an error message, evidence of another abortive attempt to reach out.

It didn't tell us much more about the state of the facilities, whether everyone was accounted for, how long it would take to recover. But somehow, it felt as if those words had been whispered and shouted to the world at once, and that felt like a sort of beginning, though of what we did not know.

And that is the way I feel now, as though I am at the beginning of something, though of what I do not know.

World, here I come.

A Deceit of Lapwings

All happy people are more or less dissimilar; all unhappy people are more or less alike.