Today’s post is brought to you with inspiration from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. Every week she posts a couple prompts and you choose one or more to write about. It is a fun way to find something to write about and maybe get a few more hits on your blog. I obviously don’t participate every week, but when there are prompts that spark my interest I have been know to write about them.
That being said, the prompt that I chose for this week is: “5.) That one time you met your online friend in real life (was it everything you thought it would be?)” The story that I have is not a glamorous, romantic online dating story nor is it a horror show of meeting someone who it totally different than how they seemed online. It is more of a story of school kids doing what they do.
I was in middle school when the internet was new (yeah, I know I am not THAT old). I remember the first computer that we had, a black and white Macintosh SE/30. I also remember the day that my dad took me to CompUSA to look at new computers and I never thought we would actually come home with one, but we did. It was a Macintosh Quadra 605. We set it up in the den and my dad proceeded to string telephone cable through the halls of the house to the modem that he got with the computer.
I wasn’t really sure what we were going to do with a computer that could make phone calls, but my mother told me about thins thing that you could dial in to, NEBBS, The Newton Educational Bulletin Board System. You dialed in and then were greeted by a text-based interface that was very similar to say IRC today. In fact, NEBBS was basically an early chat and messaging system. So, you could go on and have real-time chats with people or just send messages back and forth like email. I would imagine that it was also used for more pertinent information for people like parents and teachers, but us kids just used it for fun.
So, while cruising the NEBBS I “met” a girl who went by the name Zoopy. This was her handle at the time. We chatted all the time. She lived in a different part of town so she was at a different school than me, so I had never met her. I think that my mother was friends with her mother as my mother was (and still is) very active in the Newton Schools System. I can’t really remember what we chatted about, probably trivial pre-teen things and school and homework and such. I sure it would all seem very interesting now!
So, this internet communication went on for a while until the D.A.R.E. program scheduled a city-wide roller-skating party at the former Wal-Lex roller rink and arcade. So, Zoopy and I decided that this would be an ideal time to finally meet eachother in person. It was, I can say this now looking back, very cute. We told eachother what we would be wearing to the event and when we got there we sought eachother out. Thankfully, we actually got along in person like we did online. I don’t really remember much about the night, I went to so many events at Wal-Lex, they all kind of bled together now. I do remember that I wore a Peace Frogs t-shirt.
It turned out that Zoopy and I would be going to the same high school, so we remained friends through our high school careers. One of the funniest memories I have of that was in our senior year. We both had switched down to different math class, but since we had been in a higher level before, we knew a lot of the material. So for much of the class we would sit in the back row and crochet as she was working on a blanket. The teacher didn’t mind because we still paid attention and did very well on homework and tests.
We were two kids who, in all likely hood would have crossed paths in school at some point. Would we have been as good friends had we not “met” online? I have no idea. It was interesting though, because no one thought about the risks and such of meeting people online at that point n time. I am sure that it had something to do with the new-ness of the technology and the fact that there were probably fewer people out there trying to take advantage of others.
Meeting people online today can be very interesting, depending on your motivation for meeting people. Sure, there are online communities where you might go to interact with like minded people or people who work in the same profession, or other bloggers your age. However now there is also an entire industry in online dating that is just so mind boggling. Can you ever really “meet” someone online and know what to expect if you ever actually meet them?