Where Is Everybody?

The place is here. The time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we are about to watch, could be our journey.

A man in an Air Force flight suit is alone on a dirt track, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He stumbles into a nearby diner, and although the jukebox is playing, there are no customers. In the kitchen, he finds a pot of hot coffee and freshly made pies, but there are no other people besides himself.

He wanders into a nearby town. Like the diner, it is also deserted, yet he has the feeling that someone’s around and he’s being watched. A telephone rings in a phonebox, but when he rushes to answer no one is there. In the police station, a lit cigar is in the ashtray. In the cells, a recently used shaving brush and razor. Across the street in the ice cream parlour, he finds a rack of identical books, each one titled The Last Man on Earth. As he wanders around he becomes increasingly distressed and anxious to find someone to talk to. He thinks he’s dreaming and wants to wake up.

I’d like to wake up now. If I can’t wake up, at least I’d like to find somebody to talk to.

As nightfall approaches, he becomes progressively paranoid and anxious, eventually running and stumbling through the town in a blind panic. Finally, he comes upon a pedestrian crossing and desperately pushes the call button again and again, begging for help.

The call button is revealed to be a panic button and the man is actually in an isolation booth being observed by a group of senior servicemen. He has been undergoing tests to determine his fitness as an astronaut and whether he can handle a prolonged trip to the Moon alone; the town was a hallucination caused by sensory deprivation.


Where Is Everybody {watch} is the first-ever episode of The Twilight Zone. It was first broadcast way back in 1959, but I probably saw it in the late ’70s when the BBC ran the series late at night. It was one of a handful of episodes that really stuck in my head. Little did I know that 40 years later I’d be living it.

Things in my little town are desolate. As I go for my Government-mandated daily exercise each morning, the streets are pretty much devoid of people and cars. There are more joggers around than usual, though. Nevertheless, the number of people jogging is expected to reach a peak in the next two weeks, after which the curve will flatten and eventually 80% of the population will develop lifelong immunity.

For most of my daily walks and runs I’ve been taking my Polaroid SX-70 Sonar. But I wanted to capture the emptiness of the streets, and so for the last couple of days I’ve taken my beloved Pentax KM with the ultra-wide Miranda 24mm F/2.8 lens. I bought the lens from Dan James for a snip. Whilst not a great performer, stop down to f/8 and beyond, slip on a lens hood, and you’ll get some decent results. That’s the lens, not Dan.

I’m a bit of an introvert and I’m used to living alone, so I thought I’d get through this fairly easily. But it’s week three of not physically interacting with another single person, and I’m finding it a bit harder than I thought.

The barrier of loneliness: The palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting… in The Twilight Zone.

Chertsey in lockdown / Pentax KM / Kodak Tmax 100 / Developed in Kodak D76 1+1

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey in Lockdown

Chertsey

Chertsey

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

Chertsey Lockdown

8 comments on “Where Is Everybody?

  1. When I last lived alone a snowstorm stranded me at home for a week. I was able to work from home (but we didn’t have videoconferencing). By the end of the week I was climbing the walls — me, a pegging-the-meter introvert.

    This time four other people live here. I have no lack for company. I’m fine.

  2. I’m not under lockdown, but I still feel hesitant to call anyone up and meet. And I’m teaching(?) classes by video without any physical interaction with the students, which makes me feel isolated. Thatt gets me down a bit sometimes. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be completely isolated.
    Stay sane and don’t pound the panic button yet! Do keep pressing the shutter button, though. I like the photos, slightly eerie without people though they are.

  3. It’s giving you a couple of great picture opportunities though, this whole situation. I really love them.
    I’m quite an introvert myself as well, and working on a ship is a very nice way to get used to lockdown situation all the time probably, or at least half the time… then you get home and have to live that other kind of life. Not this time though, as I’m facing a two weeks quarantine whenever I’ll get home. Hopefully it’s happening soon, because I’m starting to feel a bit fed-up of seeing the same three or four faces all the time now. It’s different when being home, as I much rather see the face of my wife and the dog all the time instead of the second engineer. Which is a good thing after all, I guess 🙂

  4. I really like the crispness of the photos, B&W seems to be appropriate for these peopleless pics. By the way, I’ve had agoraphobia for umpteen years and it’s been the bane of my life so I’m pretty use to being indoors most of the time on my own but this isolation lark is even testing my nerve. Photography is my cure for an hour outside but that’s on hold as I’m in the “shielded group”. If i avoid the cull I feel like I want to go on a round the world tour!!

    1. That must be really tough Johnny, being in the shielded group and not being able to go out at all. I would find that so much harder than things already are. I hope you’re managing to keep in touch with people via Zoom etc.

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