I woke up on August 12th and my Twitter account was stolen. This is not a small account. I have 130,000 followers.
Is it too optimistic to use the present tense? I’m not sure, because there is still a picture of a cat in the spot that should be me.
I remember the early days of Twitter. Someone emailed me ten million times to ask me if I wanted a verified account. I thought, why would I want that? But I did it.
When Twitter was small peanuts and I had a coveted verified account, it only took me three emails to get to them. I want to tell you I’ve sent 300 emails to them, and there would be some poetic irony, or at least some poetic rhythm. But in order to do anything with Twitter you have to be able to give them an email that is associated with the account.
What? How does that work? Obviously if my account were attached to my email then I would not have a stolen account.
But then I think, okay, I get it. It’s like if I called up Chase Bank and I said, someone took my account and now my name and password are not associated with my money. Can you get it back for me?
I search a little. Twitter has no way to for me to talk to them if I do not have an account.
Since I cannot send a tweet, I send an email out asking if friends, or friends of friends, know someone at Twitter. A friend connects me to Laura.
She tells me to do three things you cannot do if you have a stolen account.
After each suggestion for something that doesn’t work she says, “So do that and then I’ll escalate the case.”
Over two weeks I engage in a Kafkaesque conversation with Laura.
She writes: Please send me a confirmation code.
I get this missive during cello practice. I homeschool a musician. He practices all day and I’m his moral support. Though I’m not averse to immorally sneaking some efforts on Twitter while praising his overly enthusiastic effort at Bach.
I try twice to get a code. I write back that I can’t get a code.
What does Laura do all day at Twitter? I hope something super important because my son gets two hours of practice in before she responds.
Can you try again? In it?
I assume that she is paying attention to her job, and I am paying attention to my job, but my job is, theoretically, is to make sure getting into Juilliard is not the highlight of my kid’s life. He has to keep practicing. I have to keep my eye on the ball.
So I am telling him use a metronome and slow down the metronome, while he argues with me from behind his music stand, I go back to the Twitter support page, assuming that Laura knows what she’s talking about and I’m not paying close enough attention.
I ask her if there is something else I can do.
I do this quickly, because I am telling my son he needs to have more focus. “It’s not just how many hours you put in,” I tell him. “You have to put in good hours. What is your goal for the next half-hour?”
“To have a mom who doesn’t like her phone more than her son.”
I should tell him to shut up. I should tell him he is the only kid in the world whose mom stays home all day practicing cello — and piano — I haven’t even gotten to that yet — and still solely supports the family. I’m pissed.
Also, though, I’m a career coach, which is a joke because no one wants a career where you get paid to use a Twitter account and then when it gets fucking stolen you have to rely on someone like Laura who keeps asking the same stupid questions varying only her unpredictable prepositions.
But I coach a lot of people who say they grew up with a single mom and the thing that was the hardest for them was their mom had such a hard time being all alone that they got the brunt of her emotional stress.
So I say, “Honey, I’m so sorry. You are so important to me. And I’m so happy to help by supporting you while you practice.”
Then I tell him I’ll be right back and I sneak into the kitchen and type. “Laura fuck you and fuck Twitter and obviously you have no fucking idea how to help me so stop your interrogation and ask someone who does know what the fuck they’re doing to fucking help you. And fuck you. And fuck Twitter.”
I delete that and write, “Is there someone else you know at the company who could help me?”
The metronome continues and it is too fast, but I cannot fix everything.
When we start piano, I get excited to check my email. I have a deal with my son that I’ll do cello with him, but he’s on his own for piano. So I sit next to the piano for two hours working. It’s a perfect time to talk with Laura. As if this is a conversation. But she is gone.
For a week.
Other people who have a 130,000 followers might have done something more during that week. All I did was hate Twitter. Because during that week I found out I’m one payment short on my son’s new cello. The cello dealer wants to come repossess the cello.
I want to say, do you know who I am? I could kill your whole reputation with just one tweet. But the cello world doesn’t care about Twitter.
Thank god, really, since I don’t have an account anymore.
Loss is traumatic. I have lost my Twitter account and almost lost a cello. I cannot make headway with the dealer because I cannot figure out how to find an extra $10,000. So I go back to Twitter.
“Laura. Nothing is happening and it’s been weeks. Can you send me a phone number I can call?”
I do a few more days of cello practice and not piano practice. I field an email from the piano teacher telling me that the lesson is changed for Thursday and I can’t remember what my other son has on Thursday but I know there’s going to be a conflict. But I have read research about how we fixate on what we have that we might lose instead of what we might be able to get.
I might be able to get sanity if I would just focus on earning money instead of freaking out over the cello getting repossessed. I tell myself to just write some stuff for unnamed client that is the equivalent of a car company that didn’t test their seat belts. I could write something vague and promise myself I will never work with them again.
Well. Actually, no one else would ever work with them, so maybe they would pay me $10,000 to write something for next week. That could work. I spend a day trying to figure out how to get a client to pay me $10,000 and in between desperate attempts at overpriced pitches, Laura writes back:
I hate her. I cannot write back because I will be too vulnerable in the email. I do not want her to know that I am conflating my Twitter account with my son’s maybe-almost-repossessed cello. I do not want her to know that I’m crying.
I tell my son to focus on the tone of the C string. But the tone is not that bad, really. I’m mostly just bitching about the C string so I can feel like I’m being productive at something, anything.
Must do something. Must make headway with Twitter. Must do anything.
The difference between a job that’s terrible and a job that’s good isn’t the hours, it’s whether or not you feel like you’re accomplishing your goals.
I send Laura a long email. Trying to be nice and explaining how my Twitter account means a lot to me, and really, I need a different contact there. The email takes me a long time to write because kids interrupt me to ask me things like when’s lunch and where’s the charger?
I send the email and take a deep breath. I tell myself I will be okay. I took action. And after I clear up the Twitter problem I will work on the cello problem.
Then I see an auto-reply that Laura is not longer at the company.
I do not cry. I just wait until my son takes a break, so I can sit down, uninterrupted, and think of a solution. To something.
So here I am. Brahms in the background. It’s beautiful music. For someone who is not having a nervous breakdown.
Twitter? Are you listening? Hello?
Is there anyone reading this who knows someone at Twitter? Can you tell them my account has been stolen? I don’t have any more energy to keep trying.
Also, please tell Jack Dorsey that if he sends $10,000 my son will serenade him at the office.