“It’s spring when the world is puddle-wonderful.” e. e. cummings
Less than a week into the new year, the same day Netflix announced that it was now available in more than 190 countries, more than half a million people tuned in to watch a very different kind of broadcast: a livestream of a puddle.
The puddle wasn’t particularly large, nor was it deep. As puddles go, it was eminently forgettable, unless you were one of the Campbellian heroes stoically trying to cross its path: Odysseus facing Charybdis, only slightly relocated to the northern English town of Newcastle rather than the Strait of Messina. And instead of a monstrous, ship-crushing vortex of fury, it was ... a puddle.
“Water you talking about,” you might say. “Rain this nonsense in right now. What could precipitate such ridiculousness?” Here is how the puddle started. For weeks, a team working at the marketing agency Drummond Central had noticed a large puddle outside their window, located inconveniently in the middle of a pedestrian throughway. They watched people try to navigate it. Some sidestepped the puddle, squelching into the soggy mud around it. Some took a running jump and leaped over it. Some simply walked right through.