Tuesday, August 29, 2006

tales from the crypt

…in which I share an entry from my recently rediscovered "old school" diary, circa 1995.

This particular installment is a howler because it deals with the wondrous new technology called the Internet. Back then, it was a real novelty, which dates me in a very excruciating fashion. Footnotes, where necessary, are indicated by a number in parentheses and follow the entry.

August 18, 1995

Dad brought home a laptop from work last week but none of us could figure out how to use it, so all it's been used for is solitaire.

Anyway, we got a free America Online (1) starter kit in the mail complete with ten free hours and a waiver of the first montly fee. I got everything installed and entered cyberspace. After a few aborted tries I got hooked up, complete with my own user name and password. I immediately browsed some of the more interesting sites and then went to a couple of chat rooms. For the most part, they were boring, but I added an occasional comment. I was getting pretty much ignored until I made a reference to El Mariachi (2) and a guy started talking to me! (3) Even though other people were in the room (about 12) we kept up a conversation. After about 25 minutes we were the only ones left!! (4) He lives in Georgia---he’s a computer major and into alternative music and animation too! I kept asking him questions about abbreviations that people kept using, like “LOL” which means “laughing out loud” (5) and he was so nice and patient…which I guess is easier to do when you’re not actually there.

So we talked for like three hours until the system shut down for maintenance, cutting me off in the middle of a sentence. I really loved talking to him and I hope I see him online again! (6)

1. Keep in mind that I was a complete newbie, and thus was not privy to the true evils of AOL.


3. No way! A real live boy?!? What an O. Henryesque turn of events!

4. I had not yet discovered the private chat room function, which is why this was so exciting to me. I assume, anyway; I have a hard time remembering yesterday, much less my frame of mind 11 years ago.

5. Yes, my dear younger readers, there was a time when this was arcane information.

6. I did indeed see him again; in fact, I burned a hole in my credit card talking to him online (back then, they charged by the hour). Then he left AOL for another ISP and I never spoke to him again.