As I was on my knee's today for an undisclosed amount of time.. I had time to think. (I assume that most women, in this position for multiple hours in a day, do the same thing..) Get your mind out of the gutter, I was tiling Aubrey's room. So anyway.. I happened to be thinking of my friend Melanie, how we came to be friends and what a crazy time that was for kids like me.
If you are not lucky enough to know the thrill of covering up a dial up modem, to log into AOL without getting caught, then you my friend, have not lived. Back in the 1999, 2000 days.. I spent a lot of my evenings and or weekends holed up in my room, on a dinosaur of a computer, chatting away in chat rooms.. saying ridiculous things like, "BRB I'm upping it right now!" FYI, that wasn't exclusive to pictures of myself, it could have been a picture that was made out of letters or !, MP3's or any other various-ness that us 13 year olds could get our hands on. If you were ever invited into a private chat room with other exclusive members.. then you were the equivalent of the "it" crowd. Look out world, there were mean girls before their was a movie.
Back to my friend Melanie, I think we happened upon each other in a private chat called "the cLiQuE" or "PoOl PaRtY".. I'm pretty sure it was something like that, or worse. Anyway, back in those days, you had "handles" or if you weren't "known" enough, just a screen name. Duh, it was safer to not know anyone's real name. I spent my time chatting with lots of people.. Tom from Texas, Melanie from New York, Tracy from Cali (or sometimes Utah), R0cky from New York.. ect. You get the point.
One day.. before the day's of daily reported internet abductions, my friend Melanie (from New York) and I had devised a plan! I would fly, from California to New York in December! By myself!!! The even crazier part, our parents went for it. My mom called her mom and the next thing I knew, I had plans to go to New York.
OMG, that happened IRL. (In real life, for you newbies.) Now, lets fast forward to today's world. I don't take my kids to target without a low jack and a microchip on them. I don't let them go to anyone's house I don't know and I'll be damned if I let them fly across the United States, unaccompanied, without a chaperone of any sorts.. by themselves. The eff was my mom thinking?
Lucky for me, Melanie was not a 40 year old man who planned to chop me into pieces and scatter me along the Canadian border. She was a teenage girl, like me. She had an awesome Mom, a step Dad and a brother. She had cool friends and went to a school that blew any of ours out of the water and she had a cool accent. I was amazed that New York had things like, icicles. I was in aww that her town had more cows then people but mostly, the accent.
Since my AOL days, I have forgotten my AIM password, I wouldn't know what to say in a chat room and I grew up and found things like, friends, a career and a husband. I got a good laugh today and it was kinda fun to sit and think of the cool relationships that came from those days. I have since met Tracy from Cali (and once upon a time, Utah.) and her beautiful daughter Molly. I have maintained contact with Melanie (from New York) all these years and its super awesome to think that she's closer now, living in Vegas. Sometime soon, I'll make my way out to see you, Mel.. I promise.
I also had some not so great relationships/friendships thanks to good old AIM.. but mostly, it was a fun way to pass the time. I discovered cool music and sometimes, escaped the crap storm that was my home life.
If you were lucky enough to have your heart broken by an AO-boyfriend (someone you never met in real life), make lasting friendships with people you met in a chatroom or were cyber bullied before it was a real thing, you might have been a kid growing up in the late 90's, early 2000's. You might have even been kinda nerdy, like me.
So, for you parent's out there, worried about your kids well being because they spend to much time texting, snap chatting or face booking.. their is hope. That's this generations version of AIM chatting and chat rooming. They're going to be ok.