Strawberry Fields Forever - Nothing is real

Monday, April 10, 2006

... If you took all the girls I knew when I was single, and brought them all together for one night...

In internet terms, I'm pretty old.

There are those who have been dealing with the good 'ol TCP protocols longer than I, but I do remember when the "web" was considered a fringe segment of the net, not for serious work. (and now my job involves maintaining/upgrading/fixing a web service... go figure?)

When I first got access to "the internet" (sometime between '93 and '94 I think) I connected via a terminal emulation session onto a Vax machine where I could access text-mode lynx for web browsing, or more usefully I could use gopher. On one hand that means I'm pretty comfortable around the lower-level workings of the 'net, and more familiar with the older standards (usenet, irc, more basic http/html, telnet, etc), but the newer protocols/applications/cultures throw me.

I resisted instant messengers for a while, knowing they would take up too much time (and indeed they do). More recently I attempted to avoid the social networking sites because they're a little too "modern" for an old-timer like myself. However, a few months ago (or was it a year ago?) I succumed finally and put out a digital shingle. (how's that for mixed metaphors?)

Generally I have been a bit freaked out with the entire culture associated with it... I still remember how things worked in the pre-internet computer bulliten board days (ok, they didn't REALLY predate the internet, but for me, they did). Back then it was largely collections of socially maladjusted ultra-geeky young males. (and yes, I was the leader of the geeks!) So when I get on the newer social networking sites, I find them to be... well, social. I was innundated with requests from total strangers to be added as friend. (apparently some bizarre computer algorithm decided I was a "cool new person" for a day or so and felt compelled to tell a lot of people) I'm adjusting better a bit, and I stay on mostly because I have younger cousins involved on such sites, and I want to keep an eye on them every once in a while.

Still, the experiences have afforded me some nice reunions with actual friends that I haven't seen in ages (as does instant messenger protocols for that matter), and today I accidentally found out what happened to my first crush. After all the melodrama, angst, sound and fury (all of which signified nothing), I can't say how good it feels to find out she's married, seems happy, and then realize that I'm really happy for her. So right now, despite all of the headaches, culture shocks, and other oddities I have experienced on such sites, I'll consider them to be a positive. (even if the knowledge that she's married makes me feel old!)

Yes, I really should have had at LEAST this level of emotional maturity... say 13 years ago... but right now I'll take solace in reaching it at all. (yay for lowered expectations!)

Anyway, it's not like learning what actually happened could "match my sweet imagination. And everything looks worse in black and white"

(BTW: I fixed a typo or two I noticed in earlier posts... the creator of the West Wing was Aaron Sorkin, and the lyric to "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" on Abbey Road is "And so I quit the police department, and got myself a steady job"... the proper job line was from an outtake from the Get Back sessions if memory serves)


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