This will not be the future, but best case scenarios are rare destinations.
It wasn't one of the largest, but it wasn't among the smallest cities either. A very large number of its residents realized, once again but almost simultaneously this time, that if everyone stopped then everything would stop. And if that happened, what would keep people from doing something completely different than what they had ceased?
Within the first half hour, roughly 9 AM to 9:30 AM, it became clear the only thing that would get in their way would be themselves. Old routines and habits even in this enlightened moment still popped out of their mouths when speaking with each other. They caught themselves self-consciously, but it was clear they were speaking their old thoughts, which meant their minds still hadn't let go as completely as they would have liked. They were still thinking in their old patterns every so often.
Half an hour. This wasn't what they were getting paid for, they would have to get back to work. Nay, actually start work, for they had been in conversation outside in the streets since their shift began. If it wasn't for that traffic jam, or perhaps the entertainment event the evening before that so few could resist staying out so late attending in their usual effort to forget about their daily lives, the excess of the usual throng of people outside their work wouldn't have felt so momentous. Either in their cars crawling at an ever-slowing pace, or packed in crosswalks and sidewalks as they poured out of transit vehicles and parking garages. People recognized each other from the evening before, related how they, too, were late this morning, and for similar reasons. It felt like an impromptu community fair stretching outward and inward through downtown and far away into a nearby suburb or two. Interestingly, the extent wouldn't remain unknown to them for long.
Conversation ensued, and people lost their sense of urgency. Once you're late for work, later hardly matters. Then someone suddenly realized what was happening, or rather became the first to say it louder than everyone else who'd been casually mentioning it. Once, twice, each time louder and phrased excitedly, and finally leaped up onto the artistic concrete blobs in a concrete courtyard amongst the concrete office buildings, the latter being the only concrete unpeopled at the moment. Smiling, chiding, not really serious, but it definitely seemed like it could get some attention, seemed like it could be a shared moment of cheer.
"The world has stopped! It hasn't started! I mean, it won't start until we go inside! The world depends on us! We start and stop the world, and we are late so the world is…is… The world is at our mercy!" This last bit said in as movie evil-doer humor.
By now people had been contacted on their phones asking where they were, and they had been pleading their own inability to do anything about getting through the gelatinous throng of people. Surely this was a major event someone forget to mention? No? Well, it is now, and it's quite in the way, so it may be some time before we'll make it there. Nothing we can do. We'll be there when get there.
What's this? How big do they say this is? Almost the wh*** city? The word spread blossomed at random intervals through various apps on various phones, coming in from the rest of the world completing the circular feedback.
That feeling of spontaneous power was infectious. No one was prepared for a party, no booze, no elaborately gaudy clothing (well, besides the occasional pretentious office-wear), no opportunity for becoming incapacitated in thinking. Nothing like last night. They weren't exactly well rested, but it was morning, daylight abounded, and they had arrived with purpose, just not expecting that purpose to be here. A quiet calm gradually spread across the mass of people from all over, up and down the streets and the various concrete public courtyards. Like a citywide parade, only much denser it was, but with a gathering silence unexpectedly muffling the crowd. People were pausing and wondering: what to do now? Last night's events are all talked out. It seemed impossible to go anywhere, if not somewhat pointless in attempting to hurry, for most of them, and yet what else could they do?
Needless to say, this confusion stayed with each of them, even later that evening when everyone had gotten home from the work most of them finally reached. Couldn't keep it out of the news, given it was net-traffic five minutes after nine by means of instant short text messages. That in itself caused pause in workplaces in other cities that morning (afternoon and evening elsewhere), where the workers phones and computers buzzed and popped indicating new messages. Phone calls confirmed it further, blogs cemented it into history. Most of what they felt was disbelief, and some disappointment that everybody had the same thing to tell each other, which in turn led back to incredulousness. What? It's a quarter after nine, and you still aren't in the office? What do you mean nobody is? Some city that is, that would never happen here.
Nevermind they were standing around talking about it happening elsewhere instead of working.
At least, this event is what inevitably gets mentioned when someone wonders: what happened? Why did everything suddenly change so fast? Afterwards, what should have taken decades took less than one. What would likely have never been thought of, let alone happened, was thought of and actually happened. The future was suddenly so present and quickly becoming the past. All because of a peak, a calamitous moment of traffic jams, crowded crowds and unpremeditated truancy by its participants that wasn't so bad after all.
I missed it.
Wasn't there. No where near. I think I was sleeping at the time. Stayed up late, unrelatedly.
The chatter online was unavoidable. Everyone hypothesizing on the fictional amounts of lost money of not working, countered with fictionalized saved money of not expending resources at work that morning, but more so about how empowered everyone felt. They had never really felt very important as individuals, but there was no denying a shared prestige of great influence when together. Their participation in a group was clearly momentous, even in their inaction as had happened (or not happened) that first half hour of work.
What might they do? If they really wanted to do something, what might that be? And hey, what about just not doing something? Just pausing, stopping and maybe finding something completely unrelated to do? Action or inaction, as a group they affected the world around them, and not just their city.
I can't really deny that helped. Becoming more of a collaborator, especially as a catalyst, had been seemingly impossible no matter how much I learned about it and attempted to get involved. Courage I applied elsewhere readily, yet so sparingly when getting different people together for exploring new ways of thinking. There were many other influences that aided me as I practiced and refined my catalytic abilities, though there's no dismissing that historic instant opened up possibilities for me much faster than I could have hoped.
As such, when Alchemy does call nowadays, I never go into an EVOKE without outside connections, a plethora of people outside the organization who live their everyday lives much more locally aware for their community than I ever could being far away, and necessarily so. It's as if they were determinedly standing out there on that unexpectedly historic instant, except now that is a feeling brought from deep within themselves closer to the surface. Many EVOKEs are hardly surprising, and so there has often been time to make strong connections with the local people beforehand, which can help smooth the transition from final calamity through a temporary decisive resolution to a new sustainable way.
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