The world won’t end if I don’t check my email. I am a slave to the internet. Not a day goes by that I don’t check my mail obsessively or log on to my Twitter account for my daily @replies. I subscribe to 100+ book, author, fashion, food, publishing, history, and humor blogs on my Google Reader. I have a Polyvore account, a Tumblr blog, 2 WordPress blogs in addition to The Lit Connection, and somewhere floating around cyberspace is a Xanga chronicling the time I suspected someone spat in my taco or my recurring nightmares about Biochem. Lab! Add a neglected Facebook account and a newly created GoodReads and I can officially conclude that I don’t have a life. Not a real life. My virtual life, however, rocks. I count not having a MySpace or a YouTube account as my one saving grace.
Seriously, folks. I need to shut down my computer and go outside and maybe feel the sunshine on my pale, ghoulish skin. I might sparkle. Likewise, I might sizzle and explode. But I would never know if I continue living this half-life existence!
I’m part of a generation who remembers what it’s like growing up without the internet. When I was in 5th grade, we took class trips to the computer lab to play the DOS version ‘Oregon Trail’ and ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ Our teacher played round after round of Solitaire via Windows 3.1 while we all looked on in high-tech envy! In middle school, most of us hand wrote our book reports, which was standard, while one classmate turned her report in TYPED and that was like “Whoa. We’ve got an over-achiever here!” Around the summer of the O.J. Simpson trials (which I’m still bitter about because it pre-empted the Fox Kids line up), I turned to Ghostwriter on PBS. My favorite Ghostwriter episode was called “Who is Max Mouse?” The gang signed into a CHATROOM by hooking up their IBM computers to an external modem and dialing up a phone number. This episode more or less BLEW MY MIND. I didn’t know you could TALK TO PEOPLE ONLINE! So the Ghostwriter Gang did some intensive brainstorming and came up with LJBad (L for Lenny, J for Jamal, Bad for the Team…which is Bad Ass) as their “handle.” I, in turn, came up with my own “handle” for when I’ll convince my parents to buy one of those new Windows 95 computers with an external modem.
I didn’t get a computer until 8th grade. It had Windows 95 at a time when Win95 was phased out by Win98. I was so happy to be among the computer-owning elite that I played Solitare and surfed my Encata Encyclopedia on CD-ROM and tinkered with my flying Windows screen savers that I didn’t have time to be jealous of my friends who were already dialing up AOL or Compuserve.
Senior year of high school: it’s finally happened. I have a new Hewlett Packard, Windows ME, and AOL dial-up! I could talk to my friends ONLINE and say cool stuff at school like “Oh, just AIM me” or “I’ll EMAIL you my notes.”
I’ll save you the story about how I went off to college with my blue Ethernet cable (I didn’t know why we needed an Ethernet cable; the dorm welcome packet advised us to buy one) and discovered DSL.
I worked so hard to get connected. Now I can’t go a day without wasting at least an hour online. When my server’s down, my personal apocalypse cometh. Is it really the end of the world when you can’t check your email or reply to someone on Twitter? Can I survive the weekend without surfing the web? Or Eek! Checking my email?