As a little girl I played with phone books. I used the small ones, the ones that feel like a novel and fit in a purse and are populated with rectangular ads of varied dimensions. I turned the feathery pages one by one to look up a piece of crucial information and chunked through stacks of pages to find an appropriate rectangle for my next purpose. The ads became calculators, password protected portals into worlds of hidden information, and analytic tools.
That is to say, I basically invented the smartphone. I was very busy and I accomplished much with the help of my phone books.
When the internet made its way into the homes of Americans, I was in middle school. My father got a dial up connection in his office, upstairs and separate from our apartment, but he offered to let me use it, took me upstairs to his desk and signed on and then left me alone to explore. It seemed to offer nothing but an AOL home page and various chat rooms, so I entered one of these and spent a moment being baffled by everyone’s constant declaration, “IM ME!”
Very shortly, however, I was instant messaged, shared my stats as requested, and began having cybersex with whoever was on the other side. The internet was fun.
But, too soon, I heard my dad opening the door and I froze as he walked across the room toward me, coming to see if I was figuring it out alright. I saw buttons in the corner of the instant messaging box, and I clicked one to make it go away. Critical mistake of the rookie: I had full-screened the box.
I jumped up, turning around to block the computer and face him. What did he see? He said something like I didn’t seem to need help, and I agreed. He left and I composed myself, excused myself, signed off, and came downstairs for dinner.
Sex, shame, and adrenaline. I wasn’t disappointed by my first encounter with the world wide web.
Somewhere along the line my relationship with the internet and with technology in general turned dull and antagonistic, and I fell into a Luddite’s stance not by choice or principle but mainly out of laziness and distraction. My younger self would have been confounded by my withdrawal from the goodies of modern times. I’m presenting this WEBLOG to myself as a route back to a more satisfying relationship with the internet, and to you as a place to share what you wish of my experiences as a new wife making a home, a mother raising a child with special needs, a nurse, and a writer. I hope you’ll check back.
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