It's a funny time of year for TV. There's nothing current to really get lost in. It's a couple of painful months until the new seasons of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead kick in. So I've been watching past episodes of Investigation Discovery's reality hit 'Disappeared'.
It's not a work of art but it's competently done and endured for a number of seasons. I've jumped on the bandwagon.
Why? The concept of someone just disappearing without any strong leads seems so incredibly unlikely in today's world as to be completely fascinating. Think cellphones, credit card tracking, CCTV, social networks - our lives are the most visible they've ever been in history. I'll be the first to admit that this is a statement purely from a first world perspective but then ID's stories are Western/American stories, first world stories.
One of the things that strikes me about this TV series is how long it takes for someone to sound the alarm that something's not right. How it varies. So, it got me thinking: How long would it take for someone to figure out I had disappeared?
Let's look at the life I've cultivated at this particular point in time. I'm teaching overseas, I have my own apartment in which I live alone. I don't know my neighbors I've barely even seen them. Do they know I even live in the building? That aside though, during the academic year it would only take 24 hours or maybe 48 hours (if over the weekend) or basically as soon as I didn't clock in to work or show up for a dinner date for the alarm to be raised and questions asked.
But this all changes if it's the annual holiday period. That's a completely different story. I've been known to be recklessly independent, to travel alone frequently and drop out of contact for long periods of time. For me not to be in contact is not unusual, sometimes it can take me up to a month to reply to an e-mail. In which case, it could, in all honesty be 3 weeks until someone begins to get worried. 3 weeks!
I don't even know what to say about that except for the fact that I had better prepare a good 'I'm missing, have you seen me?' photo. A photo that might persuade people to look for me.
I have student loan debt though, so don't expect a reward.