Total hits on xxxxxxx.html Starting Date Goes Here the vacationalist: chemical fires and Canadian Pete.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

chemical fires and Canadian Pete.

When the internet was new to the general public, my father bought a computer for the family. He did it in the hopes that it would improve our education. At that time, there was a sort of reverence towards anything that was posted on the internet. It was a vast, bottomless encyclopedia that didn't give paper cuts, or take precious shelf space away from the movie collection on the book case. The day he connected it marked that last day our edition of the World Book was ever opened again. Since then the 29 or so books have sat collecting dust on the bottom shelf. We don't really pay much attention to them anymore; a couch is in front of that part of the book case. The space is no longer coveted for videos. We now regard bulky videos with disdain, calling them VHS, and carelessly throw them to the side in favor of a system that takes up less space, and includes hours of useless commentary over the directors cut of Joey Tribiani in "lost in space." Forgive me if I do not know his real name.

I didn't take too much interest in the internet. I was not a driven student and I didn't see the value in learning to type, so I left my sister Allie to explore the world wide web of endless communication. I had tried it once, just to see what it was like, but exploring involved needing a specific answer to a question, which I didn't have. Instead, I spent my computer time playing Load Runner. In this game, a small blocky figure ran slowly through a blue and black world, climbing up and down ladders, picking up gold before the red monsters ate you and stole your money. At the time the shadow of a capitalist undercurrent escaped me. I didn't pay much attention to the internet until Allie came across what she called, a "chat room". For some reason, she had stumbled onto a rollerblading website that was devoted to hardcore teenage rollerblades.

Over the next several months, Allie developed a sort of internet relationship with a young blader named Tristan, from Olympia Washington. With permission from our mother, Allie dropped her alias, Strawberry, and gave him her real name and address. The two of them began sending each other photos in the mail. His were of rollerblading, and his rollerblading buddies, and hers were pictures I took of her in the backyard by the giant trampoline we had; before it burned down one fourth of July when a stray spark hit it, turning our beloved toy into a ten foot ring of fire and molten rubber. Allie and Tristan kept in contact for the better part of a year, until chat rooms became such common place that their relationship faded into cyberspace. The box half full of the hard copies of her hundreds of emails printed from her romance across state lines now serves as a bed for the cat, who sometimes hides in the now abandoned room. I had never really put much thought into Allie's little affair. It was odd to see her so excited for a email from a skater in Washington when she wouldn't give the skaters in her own Leslie Middle School the time of day. But besides that it didn't affect me. I never really understood her connection to a complete stranger. The images I draw from meeting people online are those of older men looking for underage girls. You know, those guys on 20/20 who show up at the house of Kelly the sixteen year old cheerleader they just met on singles.com, only to be confronted by a camera crew asking them when they first realized they were a pedophile. It always made me nervous to think how frivolously we gave out our home address to a random stranger that met Strawberry on rollerblade.com. Although my mother dutifully reminds me that she personally inspected every piece of correspondence, though I question whether it was for safety rather than gossip.

I think of Allie’s internet friend now, because I have had my first internet friend. His name is Pete and he is from Canada. For a while I talked to him frequently, until it came to an abrupt end. I made a sarcastic comment that was not taken well. Sarcasm never goes as well in writing as it does in speech, and for a while I was very stressed that I had offended my friend. That is until I realized that he is a complete stranger to me, and I had more important things to worry about than what some random person thinks of me. I can just as easily waste my time with something else. The new version of Load Runner has teleport pads in addition to ladders, and a bucket of sticky slop you can drop on the ground to catch those dirty man-eating reds.

4 Comments:

At 1:49 PM, Blogger k. crow said...

Maybe you will feel better listening to the drone of the modem as it dials up Prodigy...

In my own case, chat rooms (even ones about cool stuff like rollerblading) had nothing on Where in Time is Carmen San Diego?

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger Allie said...

Dude. He was from Lacey and my chat name was Meg. Strawberry? Wtf?

Matt LeBlanc. You would be so lost without me.

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger bubby_ptc said...

WAIT!!!!!! (i wish i could say that in polish but i cant yet)

when did u write something that offended me?! WHATTTTTT? Happy belated Easter!

Well, i was eaten by the exams monster then was abducted by the easter bunny, then released back to my parents when they came to visit...

so haven't been in touch SORRY!

COME BACK MISTER!!!!!!

grr... no i have to go back and check every facebook msg or wall post of what you said.

be happy :)

lil petey from half way across the world.

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger bubby_ptc said...

saucy?

 

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