Sunday, April 12, 2009

Story Time

From a friend:

One of the dumbest things I ever did in my youth was explain to my mother how to use AOL. When her father passed away, our family got some money and decided to hop onto the exciting rollercoaster that was the budding internet revolution.

I was 11 years old at the time, and I would bop around in the VH1 chatroom. It was the only one I could find that seemed remotely relevant to anything I liked. I would type in A/S/L and talk about how much I loved Hanson to a bunch of middle aged people that did not respond or care.

A few months later, more people bought computers, and my mom started to take interest in what I was doing on there. I excitedly explained the wonderful world of talking to strangers and how much easier it was to talk to my aunt in an instant message box. I showed her how to go into chatrooms and explained the typical protocol and she was excited to explore the world herself. Soon after she began to spend hours transfixed in front of the screen in the Long Island Over 40 Chatroom, not even talking, but simply watching other people in the chatroom converse.

This was around the time my parent’s marriage hit the skids. My mom spent a lot of time on the computer, and one day my dad came home with another computer and said we would get a second AOL account so that the rest of the family could actually use the internet. He put the computer in the basement, and as you might have guessed, it wasn’t long before he too spent much of his free time in the basement on that computer.

Whenever any of us would go down to the basement, my dad would immediately close all the screens on the computer. My mom clearly became curious as to what exactly my father was doing on the computer for so many hours. Her solution for this was to enlist a spy, 12 year old me, to try to find out. I guess in all honesty at the time I was excited to spy on my father, because at least if I could report something back to my mom, she would care enough to talk to me.

At random times during evenings, I would try different approaches to seeing what was on the screen. Sometimes I would try to run down the stairs, pretending I had something exciting to tell him. I wanted to catch him off guard before he had time to close all the windows. Other times I would creep down the stairs, hoping he wouldn’t hear me before I got far enough down to see the screen. My favorite was opening the door and laying my body partially crawled down the stairs while I craned my neck to view the monitor.

I never saw anything, however, because my glasses were broken and my parents were not interested in replacing them.

[ed. note: I was not expecting this M Night Shamalamadingdong twist ending]

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