I’m not sure about the term viral. I think it’s a new-fangled internet thingy. The only viral I’ve witnessed these past few months is when Brian’s ears blocked up and he annoyingly insisted on cupping his hand over the side of his face when I asked him a question. I thought he might need a hearing aid, but he said it was just viral
And then on Sunday, I discovered the real meaning of viral.
As some of you may know, I have been travelling the world with my husband and teenagers for the past seven months and writing a travel blog as I go. While I try my hardest to be a proper, grown-up travel blogger who appears professional and doesn’t get too personal, sometimes, just occasionally, I stray off the path.
Instead of telling people how to get from Verona to Rome by bus, I inform them that my Berlei bra has ripped or that the kids are driving me insane because they won’t get off their stupid, addictive phones.
Today you will get one of those posts, because today, I have something exciting to tell you.
The Day Mummy’s Post Went Viral.
Picture if you will, a pigeon. A big, fat, happy grey pigeon with a puffed up heaving chest, walking around in a pair of silver high heeled shoes that are four sizes too big.
That was me yesterday.
I wrote an answer on Quora. Quora is a question and answer site. It’s similar to social media in the sense that people can up-vote your answer and comment, but totally opposite to social media in that people can’t just put a picture of their granny doing the splits in a pair of wooden clogs and get trillions of likes from it.
I answered a question: ‘What do first-time visitors to India not expect to find?’
That was easy for me. While everyone else on Quora was writing about the filth and squalor, I wrote about India as I saw it. Beautifully.
You see, India for me was like stepping into a different life. It’s impossible to be normal in India because everything is so unlike everything you are accustomed to. And I loved that. So, writing about how enchanting and exciting it was came easily to me.
Anyway, this is not a post about the answer that I wrote on Quora, it is about how that answer went viral.
Sonny, my 17-year-old son, has always dreamed of going viral; it’s all he ever talks about.
Jenny Penny has given birth to a baby girl and called her tube; it’s gone viral.
Black Prince has announced he’s not racist and had sprayed his big toe white; it’s gone viral.
Robbo Fortino scratched his balls with a hairbrush; it’s gone viral.
Writing The Post That Went Viral.
Saturday night. I wrote the post and pressed publish. Just before I went off to bed I checked the stats and saw that after an hour, the post had received 45 views and a handful of up-votes.
But I woke up the next morning, and my world was different.
“You’d better come and see this! That post that you wrote on Quora is going up by 10,000 views every hour!”.
Sonny. My 17-year-old son.
Happier than I’ve ever seen him in his entire life. You see, because I am a kind and considerate mother who only ever thinks of others, I had linked to Sonny’s YouTube Channel in that post.
The video that he made about India was now receiving thousands of views.
Note to other mothers: How to make your teenage son love, worship, respect and adore you for a few hours. Plus, make you a cup of tea without asking. Link to his YouTube channel with a post that is set to go viral.
158.4k views in 12 hours.
Picture me at 10 o’clock that morning after being told that my post was hitting the big time. From resembling a seagull that had just taken an oil bath, I transformed into a peacock – strutting its stuff around Kensington Palace.
No, not a peacock. Let’s stay with the pigeon in high heels analogy.
Famous at Last. I could see it all now.
Me, on the red carpet, attending ‘The Best Selling Author of the Year Awards’. Wearing a sparkly dress and my Japanese headband, the one I bought from the 100 yen shop, sporting one of those posh silky girdles that hold your belly in really tight.
Over I would swan to J.K, smiling my nicest smile, and I’d ask her ‘was it true that she had written about the flying wizard while sitting in a coffee shop?’
She would look aghast as if to say ‘who the hell is this cretin and why is she wearing that hideous headband?’ but I wouldn’t care. I’d go on to tell her about my adventures. And she’d have to listen to me because I was nearly as famous as she was.
And a bit younger.
I’d yarn on and on about the fact that, like her, I’d suffered poverty. About how I’d travelled the world wearing the same filthy black dress and had eaten horse meat in Japan. How I’d inflicted torture onto my kids by making them couch-surf but that I didn’t feel one bit guilty, because I was the world’s best mother.
Not like her who had left her daughter to sleep in the pram while she wrote stories about goblins.
Imagine how it felt for me to see a bunch of numbers going up and up and up. The only thing that’s ever gone up that fast for me in the past seven months is my mortgage repayments.
It’s costing a bloody fortune this trip. Budget or no budget.
163.7k Views in 14 hours.
Going viral on that warm and sunny Sunday was making mummy girlish and scatty,
‘Let’s go out for a coffee!’ I announced, giddy and gleefully.
The kids looked slightly horror-struck.
‘But you said that coffee in France is a bloody rip-off and that we were never going out ever again. You said that that French woman at the café overcharged you because she knew we were English and that you hated France and that you wish we’d stayed in Croatia.’
‘Never mind that now children!’ I spat as I skipped out to the car. ‘Who wants a plain croissant? They’re on meee!’
Looking back, it must have been terrifying.
The kids, stood there, gawping, open-mouthed. Feet glued to the floor. Unable to believe that this thing in front of them was the same old bag that just yesterday had accused Sonny of being a greedy little shit because he had made a club sandwich out of four pieces of toast instead of three.
188.3k Views in 16 hours.
Tessa, groaning under her breath as she climbed into the car. ‘Oh, God’ she mumbled to Sonny, ‘she’s not going to be famous or anything is she?’
I had it all sorted in my head. No more life of poverty for me. No Siree.
No more sneaking into the duty-free cosmetic malls in the airport and pumping a load of hand cream into the palm of my hand and then running around the corner to rub it into my blackened crusty heels.
Things were about to change.
Quora and India have made sure of that. From now on, I would be getting pedicures. Well, I’d certainly go and buy myself one of those posh foot shaver things. That gadget that looks like a cheese grater. And I’d ask Tessa to attend to my heels while I wrote more posts on the computer.
She’d love that.
223.4k Views in 23 hours.
I jumped into bed that night like a young gazelle.
Nothing like the half-dead shire horse that had collapsed onto the sheets the previous evening. No. Tonight was different. This was special.
It’s not every day that your wife goes viral. That in mind, I decided to give Brian a little treat. To stay up late into the night and chat, like we used to when we were young. Younger. This was something worth staying up for, worth feeling knackered in the morning for.
I even put a couple of drops of lavender oil on my temples to try and calm the giddiness and to make me smell attractive.
Brian came out of the bathroom, banging the side of his head to get the water out of his waxy ear.
‘Let’s talk’ I crooned. Brian, looking agitated and vaguely petrified.
‘It’s getting late Liz and you’ve had a big day…’
Never mind that! I wanted to scream, this is what it would be like if you were in bed with someone famous! I’m a viral superstar!
I wanted to jump up onto the bed, get on all fours and start bouncing up and down in exhilaration, but we are staying in a converted barn and the floorboards are old, so I refrained.
Instead, I giggled and tried to blink a lot without turning my contact lenses inside out. I smiled my special little pigeon smile, but Brian ignored me and asked if I knew where the Tiger Balm was because his sinuses were playing up.
237k views in one day.
The next day, the kids had clearly decided between themselves that enough was enough. This viral mania that had possessed their Mother had to stop. It was time to bring her back to down earth.
‘Have you washed my white skirt yet?’ ‘My bum hurts when I go to the toilet’. ‘Can I download a pirate copy of the game of thrones onto your computer?’ ‘Why does my ankle keep cracking?’
Viral. Bloody viral. Me with my ripped bra and donkey hoof feet and a post that goes viral.
Things are looking up for Mummy.
Ps: You can read about the post that went viral here. And please don’t forget to share it!