Over a year ago, my friend Justin and I wrote about our Snapchat streak that we had maintained for over a year. We crossed continents, endured natural disasters, and suffered power outages to reach that milestone—and we didn’t stop at 366 (it was a leap year).
In April, we reached two years. We invited our closest friends to a candlelit dinner where we announced plans for the future.
We really just Snapped each other,
We did it!!!
Is there anything more appropriate?
Achieving two years of snapping 731 days in a row was no small sacrifice. Our victory would easily win us admission to an Ivy League. For a second year, we persisted through international expeditions (on my end), snowstorms, cracked iPhone screens, and even iPhone replacements. Times grew dark, but we always managed to find the light.
Last month times got the darkest. Justin and I had reached 764 days. By this time in our lives, snapping one another is habit. It’s inevitable. I’ll admit I sometimes feel lazy, but I always manage to pull my phone out at some point before noon and send a photo, even if it’s of a ceiling fan or of my sun-damaged pores.
I had already begun to worry about the future of our streak. In the next couple of days, I was setting off for Costa Rica. I had been abroad before and protected our prowess, but I usually paid for cellular data or knew I’d be in posh hotels where Wi-Fi was amply available. This time I would be setting off into the jungle to visit a friend in the Peace Corps. Would there be Wi-Fi? If I even paid for data, would it work?
Justin had already metaphorically slammed his fist and told me, by God or by nature, I would find a way. We would not fall from such heights due to my travel bug ways. As we wrote last year, “There comes an hour when you realize you’ve come too far, climbed too high, fought too long, to give up your throne.”
And that’s f*cking right.
Then I opened my phone.
Our streak was gone.
Like, it was gone. The number beside Justin’s name was gone. Poof. Vanished.
It was startling. For 764 days, a number had appeared beside his name. And now…blankness. And I felt similar emptiness.
How had this happened?
Typically when a Snapchat streak is in danger, a timer appears by the friend’s name. This is your warning: Snap now or forever hold your peace. Justin and I had never been threatened by this. Other friends and I have suffered this fate. RIP to us. But Justin and I? That’s laughable.
I snapped and texted him: “OUR STREAK IS GONE! WTF! WHAT! WHERE DID IT GO?”
We snapped into panic mode, then strategy. Neither of us remembered the timer. Both of us had been on Snapchat in the last 12 hours. Neither of us had slept for 24 hours. We recounted the last Snap we had received from one another. I remembered him drinking in a hot tub. I recalled my Snap of a spider in a bathroom sink. How had this happened?! This is outrageous. A virus had wiped us clean. We simultaneously experienced the stages of denial and anger.
Friends speculated that a Snapchat update on our iPhone had dethroned us. Others theorized the Russians targeted us (that was me). Arguably, some of our friends were more anguished than we were. We quickly learned how many of our peers shared our feats within their circles.
The most passionate of our friends implored us to tweet and write Snapchat. Friends retweeted our agony. Silence echoed back.
On the second day, I took to email. Snapchat has an online form specifically for these circumstances. The form asks if we saw the timer.
No, we did not!
What information should we know? Please describe below…
I typed, “My friend and I have been maintaining a Snapstreak record as you can see from the number (764), and we are confident we snapped each other within 24 hours. Given our Snapstreak length, this isn’t something we take lightly. We never saw the timer icon. We also remember specific Snapchats we sent in the previous 24 hours.”
I restrained myself from adding, “SOS.”
Minutes later, I received a response from Theresa: “We have some good news! As a one-time courtesy, we’ve gone ahead and restored your Snapstreak. To keep up a Snapstreak, both people must send a Snap (not a Chat) back and forth to each other within 24 hours. Note, your 24 hours to keep the streak going starts from when this email was sent!”
I replied, “Hi, Theresa, thank you so much. Out of interest, what is the record Snapstreak between two people?”
Theresa didn’t reply to that.
But we were back in the game! I snapped and texted Justin. The number reappeared. 764! We re-ascended to the throne we rightfully owned.
But I still had to make it through Costa Rica. We weren’t in the clear yet. From the San Jose airport, I snapped Justin. I had 24 hours until I sent the next one.
I sent the next one three hours later from the hostel and then at 5 am as we packed to catch a bus to the jungle. I asked my friend if she thought we’d have Wi-Fi tonight.
“Cazey.” She looked at me. “We’re not going to a resort. I don’t know.”
“But…” I struggled to explain to someone who didn’t even use Snapchat what a 764-day Snapstreak means to the outside world.
“I know this sounds like a first world problem,” I began. This won me no points.
“What if you downloaded the app?” I suggested. “Then I can snap from your phone since you have data.”
“I don’t have enough storage space,” she said.
Why are you being so difficult? I thought.
Then it hit me: I texted Justin my Snapchat login information. Is this cheating? Ehh. I’ve read Buzzfeed articles of others using this tactic. I admit it’s cutting corners, but Justin and I aren’t protecting a hundred-day streak here. We’re fighting for our livelihood.
In the Costa Rican mountains, we met my friend’s friend who would be housing us that night. About five minutes into the introduction I managed to slip in, “Do you have Wi-Fi?” She said yes. That wasn’t enough. “Will you give me the password when we arrive?” I verified.
“Do you use Snapchat?” I tried to soften my approach. I began explaining the streak.
She didn’t understand. “I’ve only ever had a 15-day streak,” she laughed. “You have…what?”
The first two days were safe. I snapped from our friend’s site in the evening and morning. But then we headed to another part of the country. My friend warned me the Wi-Fi had gone down the day before I arrived. She didn’t know if it was back up.
“Is there a coffee shop or something nearby I can just hit up?” I said.
“Cazey.” She looked at me. “This is Costa Rica. We’re going to a local town. No.”
“How close is a bigger town with Wi-Fi?”
She ignored me.
Thankfully, the Wi-Fi had been restored. I snapped Justin my sunburns, a lizard climbing on the wall, and the sound of macaws.
Our last night in Costa Rica was spent at an Airbnb. I never doubted they would have Wi-Fi. This was an Airbnb. Of course, they would.
And they did. Except it didn’t work. My phone refused to connect. So did my friend’s.
“Oh my God,” I panicked. It had been 18 hours since my last snap. Was this the end?
“Do you want me to hotspot you?” my friend offered.
“Yes,” I croaked. “Please.”
The Snap took three tries. I don’t think Justin or anyone will appreciate the data suck and near destruction that was avoided on this evening.
Back at the San Jose airport after a week of traveling, I sent Justin my beaming face: “We made it!”
And that is how you save the throne. Never doubt our resolve. Justin and I look forward to reaching many more years of Snapping. Even when we aren’t friends anymore, we will protect what we have won. We have endured trips abroad, hurricanes, and now the actual erasure of our streak. But we still prevail.
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