Saying goodbye to a special place, and some special people...
Today, one of my cyber haunts has sounded last call. We say goodbye to TIME/CNN All politics bulletin board. It's one of the first places I went to regularly when I first got on the internet, it's a place where I knew people, and where I called cyberhome.
It started out as Pathfinder's All Politics. And it was pretty glorious. I got there in 1995 or 1996. Actually, I was headed to the Pathfinder Babylon 5 site. It was around the time I pretty much pissed off a bunch of B5 fans, that I accidentally found a Politics link left by B5ers with a warning that this link lead to a horrible land of ferocious beasts who would eat you alive. Of course I had to follow. And I found a wonderful place full of larger than life people. Politics has been a refuge, a soapbox, a haven, a gathering, and an arena. And now, it will be a blank spot where, some people use to meet to discuss the day, the life and the times.
I will especially be heartbroken (yes, heartbroken) when it finally shuts down on March 31st, 2001. Because, along with the cyber memories, I attach to the board the nostalgia of a certain time in my life - when I was younger, freer, more intense about every facet of my life. More intense. I felt things deeper, I was more single minded in thought and action, my colors were more vibrant, taste and touch was all encompassing, my involvement was total, my beers were more alcoholic, and I didn't know better about a lot of things. My obsessive compulsive disorder was fueled by youth and enhanced my liquor, and sharpened by life - I was drowning in life. I miss my life back then. Not to say it was particularly a better life than I have now, but I miss how I deeply I could feel, how out of control I could get.
And the boards were a part of that. I made some friends and I argued with the passion of a young liberal idealist. I didn't mind arguing the same arguments or tilting the same windmills night after night. We partied as hard in the cyber bar, as I did in the real bar. We had crises and scandals, and the cyberworld seem all too real and seem to matter very much. I didn't know that it was just a photonic illusion. I was engulfed in wondrous ignorance of the futility of it all. I gave a big ass damn, and I fought like a bear.
We cyber partied on election nights, we discussed every part of our life, we played games, shot the shit, bonded as comrades and huddled together in friendship. These people were there on a Christmas that I spent alone. These people were there went I was at my lowest point. I shared my joys and worries with my cyber community. I shared the changes and milestones of my life. We shared each other's company and comforted each other as only friends can. We gave each other understanding, and we challenged each other. No one can say it wasn't a real community. No one can say that what we shared wasn't real.
We have screamed at each other, called each other horrible names, rallied around causes, debated the merits of issues, passionately orated our arguments, joke with each other, hated each other, and stood by one another. Even the posters who screamed the loudest about how we were taking it all too seriously, or that we were wasting our time in front of the computer, or didn't have lives, or proclaimed how above it all they were - still showed up every day or week or month to tell us this.
I've met a few of the posters, I shared this little cyber space with. They were wonderful people whom I would have never known without this board. And unlike other places, where it is usually the like minded meeting and greeting, clustered in cybercentric little packs with an exclusionary agenda, and a face that is different is a face rarely seen, you had all sorts from republicans to democrats to libertarians to liberals to conservatives to rightwing to ... well, you get the idea. We've had Nazis and Mormons and Wiccans and Catholics and WASPS - people of every category. But, aye there is the rub to a place like this. The categories are never enough. Establishing a community like this, you learn that one is much more than a category, and that you are usually more wrong that you are ever right. It opens your eyes and your mind to perspectives you would never have had, and you try on shoes you would have never worn otherwise. All you need is a willingness to learn, an ability to grow, and a penchant for congregation.
It would break my heart if I were never to see these people again, never to talk to them, never to share with them, never to throw a cyber chair at them.... And to see this board be swept away, it is like watching bits of my tattered past that litter the floor blow away on the breeze. I'll miss it dearly. I'll miss you all dearly.
I hope we all can do it again sometime.
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