The mask itched enough for Sonia to always be aware of its presence. Sonia wasn’t her real name but a name she felt comfortable assuming for the purposes of this evening, different but not unconventional.
The invitation had arrived in the mail with instructions just as the Twitter direct message had stated. At first, she was sure it was a marketing ploy to get her to lend her considerable online following to an event but, given that the DM came from an official verified account and was guaranteed genuine by a follow up with Twitter, she was intrigued. Normally, she was only asked to attend functions virtually so actually being invited to a physical event opened her mind to new possibilities.
When it came to selecting her mask, she was sure the Guy Fawkes mask would be de rigueur. Sonia, though, liked to stand out in a crowd, digital or real, so she decided to put some thought into her mask. She wanted something different yet not so different as to be considered strange. She liked being noticed but detested being thought of as different. Because of this obsession about standing out yet being the same, Sonia was a natural at building an online following. Noticeable yet in alignment with all of her followers.
Sonia snatched at a memory of watching Point Break with her mom and decided she was going to wear a dead president mask just like the bank robbers in Point Break. She liked the mask with the pointy nose and cheeks that looked like they were about to sag off of the face. With some digital effort, she was able to procure the Richard Nixon mask that she was currently wearing. She didn’t know much about Richard Nixon the man or president but she was pretty sure that she was going to standout without offending.
Sonia showed her invitation at the door and enjoyed the fuss the door man made at her presence. She was ushered into a large-ish room full of masked individuals and was immediately glad that she was wearing a mask and a mask that stood out. She had become quite used to the anonymity of computers and 140 characters, the thought of being exposed for who she actually is in front of people she didn’t know was frightening. No, despite the ever present itch, Sonia was glad she was masked. Little did Sonia know, but this was a feeling shared by many of the other party attendees.
Sonia got herself a Blue Hawaiian, something colorful yet safe. She was a bit rueful that her invitation did not allow her to bring a guest, not that Sonia had anyone specific in mind but she felt like an opportunity was missed to increase her notability. The invitation was clear, though, that she had to comply with all of the party requirements or else face immediate expulsion from the party. Sonia was used to internet events with moderators who can silence individuals at almost their whim so the invitation warning was neither unnatural or overly onerous in her mind. Sonia was blissfully free from perspective.
Sonia noticed a stoic gentleman without a mask, in fact, the only person without a mask at the party so far. He was gesturing and pointing to a masked man with a tray who nodded his head and went off in the direction the unmasked man had indicated. He must be the host, thought Sonia, or the event coordinator. Sonia actually didn’t know the host personally, virtually, yes, physically, no, so she wasn’t sure who the unmasked man was but, obviously, the ‘no mask no party’ rule did not apply to him. Sonia assumed that he was the event coordinator and, therefore, did not matter. She moved off towards the buffet. Sonia would only spend time this evening with people who could better her online profile.