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1 March 2015, 03:12

I have a lot of entries that are titled INSOMNIA. I have a lot of insomnia. I thought the cure for my insomnia tonight was binge watching Designing Women, but no such luck.

So, I got in the wayback machine and hunted around the internet for the traces of the past that had meaning for me. The internet started for me about 1995, so I was looking at ugly geocities web pages, old pictures, old writings and old political bulletin boards and the folks who use to post to them. When I first got on the internet, I hung around public bulletin boards ran by Time Magazine. This was my first introduction to internet communities. I posted on two boards, Babylon 5 and something called All Politics. I met people and did a fair amount of socializing and interacting, arguing and debating. It was a time waster. And at that time, it became a giant integral part of life – I got involved and concerned in all aspects of this online community, from personal situations to political issues. I took it very seriously. Too seriously. WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. A million little things that in the light of day had very little weight and meaning in the world, we put high atop life’s priority list. We went to this place everyday for hours, and it WAS ALL ENCOMPASSING. I can’t tell you how desperately important this all was to me – defending my friends, posting everyday, reading everything on there, policing and protecting it like it was… my home or something.

In some ways it was. Now-a-days, this is common. We’ve all seen the communities that are ponds of piranha, full of people who spend WAY too much time on the internet, those who are KINGS of their sandbox, and that make the word OBSESSIVE seem like a mild description of their cyber community involvement. Way back when the internet was a baby, this was an apt description of how I was. My excuse for being an obsessive internet denizen was that I was young. VERY young. The political board I was on was patronized by posters who predominately were 30 to 40 (about the same age I am now). The level of discourse ranged between intelligently well spoken to caveman-stupid. I certainly put a lot of caveman stupid stuff on the internet, more then than now, but I’d like to think I’m better at all this interaction these days.

I don’t remember anything within the last half decade I’ve posted that was as inane or even close to personally hurtful (maybe one or two) to anyone specific, and certainly not to anyone from the old TOL days. In fact, I lost one of my good friends on TOL that became a good friend in real life. And I gained two from TOL and let them into my real world. There’s a lot of reposting of liberalism and watching dog videos for me.

So when I got nostalgic for the ole ALL POL days, I wandered over to a forum the regular posters set up after the old Time bulletin boards were shut down. I puttered around to see what everybody was up to and was going to post something nice about my time there, when I found out I had to apply for membership. Eh. Okay. So, I sent an email to the lady running her little sandbox, whom use to be a friend of mine. I say use to because, she sent back a scathing little snippy email that she wouldn’t want me there because of what I did to her. I was taken by total surprise since I haven’t talk to these people in ages. I think she even posted on my Facebook once, correcting my grammar. But apparently, I had wronged her in a way she couldn’t forgive. I was wounded and almost sent back a WHAT DID I DO note, when I stopped myself. I sat there and waited. I sent her back a “I’d ask what I did, but I just don’t care” email. The “wounded” feeling passed and just became one of curiosity.

I was taken aback that I didn’t feel more concerned about this. I wasn’t concerned on what I supposedly did to her, or anything else having to do with all this for that matter. The only thing I had a wanted to make sure was that the friends I DID keep in touch with from TOL still thought I was groovy. I have no earthly idea what I had done, and I AM curious but, I really am pretty startled to realize that these people that meant so much to me 15 odd years ago now hold about as much of an emotion to me as a scrapbook. I felt really awful that I didn’t feel more awful about this. I think a lot of it was that I didn’t do anything to her, and I thought she’d has had a stroke which filled her head with imaginary conflicts involving me.

I had an epiphany which I think I should have had a LONG time ago. A lot of this interaction on the internet has an entirely too strong a hold on me/people. I had to grow up a little to discover this. The web can give you an opportunity for real true, solid interaction with people, and eventually a lot of that becomes tangible relationships with CONCRETE individuals. Those are the individuals that matter. I have the clarity now to see what is real and what is not – what relationships matter and which do not.

I do find value in all of this – this column, the friends I’ve met because of the internet and technology, and the way virtual reality became actual reality for me. I am SO much smarter in what I take seriously and what I don’t now. So, an old lady who stands Queen of her Sandbox, proclaiming me unworthy is much like when somebody flips me off in traffic. And I use the Queen analogy, not because I felt it, but I think SHE felt that. The little letter she wrote me back was haughty and smacked of authority – and she had judged me in her rightly fashion. Alrighty. It didn’t matter. I don’t need to raise my hackles indignantly or try to convince her I was deserving. A lot of it didn’t matter. And a LOT of the internet doesn’t matter. I WISH I had known all this a long time ago. Much of the unnecessary drama didn’t have to happen. Much of the unnecessary stupidity didn’t have to happen.

And I could just blow it all off then, much like I’m going to blow this off now.