The world had Monday off. And on Instagram, half the world seemed to spend it drinking. That's my takeaway from an afternoon spent staring at Snap, our fancy newsroom Instagram visualization tool.
My assignment was to find a story in the flood of storm-inspired images streaming from Bostonians' phones. Day drinking emerged beautifully as a hot trend - rising above the too predictable shots of downed trees, flooded streets and lawn furniture on its side. These were young revelers, I felt, daring to love life on a carwash afternoon.
I waylaid them with comments on their photos, asking them to explain themselves. Seven responded. The result:
1:42PM Based on the neatly organized post-its on the computer monitor behind the huge Wild Turkey bottle, on a normal weekday Allston's Mark Dougherty is an upstanding citizen and a responsible guy. Hurricane Sandy changed all that. "My roommates are sitting around the apartment and day drinking while listening to music," Mark wrote me in an email. Actually, that sounds pretty innocent. We won't tell your boss, Mark.
3:20PM Like Mark, instagrammer Justine Belle is wasting away the day with her roomies (maybe they can combine parties?) "This has been the first day all 5 of us have had the day off together in ages, and we've decided to spend it in our sweats, watching cheesy movies, and listening to throwback playlists," she wrote. Take that, Sandy!
2:05PM Jack Forrest's instragram depicts the doorway of Doyle's Cafe on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. Jack rode out Irene at Doyle's in 2011, so he figured it would be a comfort and haven from Sandy, too. "I guess you could say it is a tradition now. Doyle's is the perfect place to relax and unwind, even if it is during a hurricane," he wrote to me.
2:58PM New Yorker Carles Velez and his wife are in Boston for a few days while his dad visits from Spain. They found a hotel bar that was giving out free hurricanes (is that legal!?) "It's hard to be outside so nothing better than a hotel bar!" he wrote.
2:32PM Instagram artiste Heather Bruce responded to my comment in real-time. She wrote "currently we are sitting at @Union Cafe in Allston eating pancakes, laughing as Allston's trash floats down the hurricane streams toward Brighton and umbrellas turn inside out. We are enjoying a 'storm day' off from work, but we will definitely be adventuring in the rain." She kept in touch, later on letting me know she was "home in JP now with enough PBR to quench a small army!"
5:44PM As the day went on, the effects of decisions made earlier were now manifest. Asked to explain this photo, Allston Instagrammer Danae writes of a harmless afternoon spent playing board games, which turned into something completely different when alcohol entered the picture. "We had enough of staying docile while the rest of the east coast got massacred. We ventured out into the decimated, hurricane ridden, desolate space … unbarred the doors and ventured into the muck of lower Allston and celebrated. The picture is the culmination of The Sandy Rebellion." Uh ... yeah. YEAH! Yeah? YEAAAAAHHHH!!!!! Also, I’m not gonna ask what’s in the Camelbak.
2:35PM Lest I give the impression the whole town was neck deep in booze, I'll leave you with an (only slightly) more wholesome image. Instagram member Sarah Zeldin writes "my friends and I figured since classes were cancelled and we would be stuck in the house all day that we would try to make the best of it and stove top s'mores sounded fun!"