Dial Up Internet
Over the weekend, I was talking to a couple of my girlfriends about something that only people of our generation will really understand…dial up internet. Our parents didn’t use internet in middle school and high school and even those who used it as adults in their everyday work life didn’t use it like our generation did/does. Internet will be about as common as flipping on a TV to our kids…in fact, its likely that they won’t believe that people could survive without them-similar to the way our generation is appalled by the thought of TVs that are only made in black and white.
I still remember when we would get the “Free Trial Disk” from AOL in the mail (real mail) about every week. I wanted it SOOOO bad. All my friends had AOL, and my family only had stupid Netscape. For years I was bummed that all my friends could hop on AIM and since I only had Netscape and a Hotmail account I couldn’t. That is, of course until I discovered that I could download AIM and chat away! This “chatting away” that I just mentioned was short lived though, because of course my family had only one phone line. Come on, did you honestly think that the family that had Netscape instead of Real-Deal-AOL would have a separate line for the computer?? My parents only got call waiting a year or so ago for crying out loud! Ahh…I digress…where were we? Oh, yes…dial up internet. So, since my internet was strictly limited because of the one-phone-line situation, I had to come up with plans in order to make sure that I could get my chat on. You know, like sneak into the computer room really late at night when my parents were sleeping and go on AIM (all the cool kids were always on-even late at night…their parents had a special line just for the computer haha). Even a “buddy system” if you will, where your BFF would call you to let you know so-and-so was online so hurry up! When someone would call you to come online, it was always stressful because with the damn dial up, it took so long to get on that you were always worried you’d miss the person you wanted to talk to. When you did finally get online, even back then there was politics .
Situation: You are online, and your crush comes on. Action: Obviously you can’t IM them right away. Optimally, they will IM you, but if that doesn’t happen right away, you have to wait at least 3 -5 minutes before IMing them to avoid looking like a stalker. The funny part about it is that after putting all this work into the wait, undoubtedly the conversation would go something like this:
Me: nm u?
Then, its like “shit…dead end…what do I say now?” In no more than 11 letters, you have said hi, asked how each other were doing and determined that you both have nothing better to do with your time than sit at a computer and electronically talk to your friends. In a good situation, someone will come up with something to say, but most of the time, that small interaction will be enough to talk to your friends about for a while. And this worked out for people for years, until, of course, it was eliminated via the force of survival of the fittest. While there are probably still people out there that use the original AIM or AOL (sounds crazy to me, but I have seen it!), lets leave it at that was a simpler day where the only way to e-stalk people was through the quote in their away message.