how the wilderness becomes the town, how the town becomes a home, and how a home becomes the wilderness again
“There was a new thing, and then there was another new thing, and then there was another new thing, and then there was another new thing, and each new thing said it was the only thing that had ever really been new.”
I was in my last semester of college when I made my first AOL account, sitting up way too late in a friend’s apartment on a borrowed computer.
I was a year and a half into my first post-college corporate job when I was asked to do research (make phone calls) about a new internet service provider called Mindspring. That’s how I got my first “real” email address. I taught myself HTML and built my first “tilde” website a couple months later.
I had a Livejournal, then a Movable Type blog that became a Wordpress blog that was so important to me until it stopped being important at all.
And so it went.
What I love about this one is how it’s the actual truth behind that ridiculous and overused phrase: “Digital Nomad.” It’s dismissive and possibly offensive to actual nomadic people, and nobody ever really talks about how the homes we seek to establish online are always so impermanent. At the outset, there was this sense of finding a corner of the Internet and homesteading, building out your electric home, here’s where you’ll find me. But that’s never been the case.
Instead, it’s like you say here...
“This house, that looks like all the other houses in which I’ve ever lived, wants to sell me a new house.”
¨I made my first AOL account at the desk on the upstairs landing of the house where I grew up, on the shared family computer, greenish-beige and ugly and functional.¨
I made my (you´ve maybe never heard of it) first account on compuserve on a barely functional 8-bit computer (running off a floppy drive) hooked to a 300 baud modem (I paid for it with part of my first two paychecks from that shit summer job doing apartment make-ready) when I was teen. It was expensive. In current dollars, maybe a middle price point iphone. Just the modem/ It sat on a wooden desk I made from 1x8´s I cut with a circular saw, screwed together using a drill and covered entirely in some random stain. It bowed a bit, but it did work. So I connected and got 40-columns! all uppercase forums, chatrooms and weird little pure text games. (I did manage to find the setting to allow lower-case!)
The chatrooms were interesting because they were full of names that sounded like the stripper names of the era invariably followed by (TV). Which meant ´transvestite' (a word that is extremely out of fashion in more ways than one), not television. Basically dudes looking to hot-chat as women with other dude, so basically, the same social order as a boarding school or a prison.
I decided that that was a whee bit too much for my teen self so I checked out. Because I wasn´t interested in hot-chatting dudes, mind; I had already had enough problems with men hitting on me because of the blonde hair.
¨Whatever I thought the internet was is already long over, something the newest generation of novelty seekers has never seen, and would likely not even recognize. ¨
The internet is the TV that talks back to you, as Dave Sim correctly pointed out, before he went the way of all converts-to-weird-right-wingery. Could be a fake/could be a dog/maybe just a flake/or an awesome singing frog/hype is the currency/bullshit the norm/here the eternal slog/to create the perpetual storm/but at least the dog/will never run out of porn.
¨It’s what everything is, trapped in this awkward era of social media in which the old forms are dying out, but the new ones haven’t yet fully arrived.¨
i think they scammed the gpl code for nitter and customized it; kinda sure this is not going to work out
I found my old AIM handle a while back, somewhere in a dusty old gchat thread from 2009 that had shown up in a search for something else. I was briefly overjoyed. Then I forgot it all over again.
I do remember how, back then, the internet was the way I escaped my little town in South Dakota and became a part of a big, interesting world. Logging into an AOL chatroom was like opening a door onto a city street, where all the weirdos were lined up on the sidewalk waiting to greet me.
That was a long time ago, though.
Now I say things like, "Remember when things felt like something?" And I think about how everything I used to do had a feeling, even if it felt sticky or rough. And things tasted. And things sounded.
Obviously, the world still exists. I just live in it less and less. I start to think about little girl tea parties, where you lift the plastic cake to your mouth and say "Oh YUM."
I got on Notes. I think I liked it for a few days. Then I forgot about it again. Maybe I'll get back on there, if that's where the weirdos are now.