How I Discovered the Internet: Late to The Party Again


In 2000, I accidentally landed my first real office job. I worked in a cubicle (OK, semi-office job), as a call center representative with thirty-three co-workers in a space built for about five. It was here I learned why the world loved the nine to five lifestyle, and why office jobs were so popular.

 The Internet.

English: An image of a lot of cubicles that se...
English: An image of a lot of cubicles that seem to go on forever (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In between calls, we were allowed to use the Internet to enhance our skills as customer service reps. We were allowed to read, learn, and surf the Web during down time as long as goals were met and call quality remained top-notch.

Keep in mind, the Internet was “relatively” new back in those days. There wasn’t easy access to the world via smartphone, there were FEW laptops (if any), and people with home computers were “special” and “rich”–in my mind anyway.

So, this newly discovered vessel was unbelievably exciting to me.

These office prodigies educated me, and I was in awe!

I had spent my adult life working nights as a poker dealer and a bartender. I worked nights because the tips were better, and had never had an office job.

I had adamantly refused to be normal and couldn’t imagine working in an office or working for a paycheck.

It all became clear one morning, on the third floor, in a small office space, in the middle of Wisconsin…….

Bored.com became my favorite website during those breaks intended to enhance my productivity and level of expertise in the field of customer service. It was also during this time as well that my cyber-social life began to explode.

Couldn’t wait to get to work every day.

I learned how to email, how to find old friends at reunion sites (WAY before Facebook), and after a quick call to my mom, learned to send an attachment. I wrote letters to people I hadn’t “seen in forever” (I  graduated high school seven years earlier), and loved keeping in touch with the group of friends I had just moved away from in California.

Wisconsin was amazing, but the homesick was beginning to set in. Email correspondence cured that.

I emailed everyone (I was popular, ya know!) and waited eagerly for responses. That same year I learned how to use the “refresh” button and found myself cutting customers off so I could refresh my email account. I loved this form of communication.

I “talked” to my Chris the most. He had just graduated from Sacramento State, and found a writing job that allowed him to travel, interview, and share his love of music.

I think I was secretly jealous.

Chris sent me (and still does, by the way), the most hilarious emails ever! During my time in Wisconsin he amused me with stories about the drunk girls we used to work with, his tortured life interviewing Primadonna (not MADONNA!) music artists, and perspectives on the world that he “needed to write” about.

At this point in my life, I was still taking ball point to the Composition book and calling it poetry.

I was totally jealous.

//

My diligence as a daily journal-keeper had dwindled. I was rarely inspired to write unless drunk, and the illusion of putting music to my words was beginning to fad. I was 25-years old, and my chance at fame had long passed. I was too old to ever be a songwriter, (and too over-dramatic to take a peek at reality!).

Old school email.

The second logo for AOL, used from 2006–2009

So I wrote emails-For the very first time in my life.

JAN 8, 2001
DEAR CHRIS,
THAT WAS THE FUNNIEST EMAIL I HAVE EVER READ!!!!!!!! MAN, I MISS YOU GUYS. THOSE CHICKS ARE STUPID AND SO MUCH DRAMA!! GOOD FOR US THOUGH BECAUSE THEY MAKE THE BEST STORIES. WE NEED TO BECOME WRITERS!!!!! LETS WRITE SOMETHING!!! CASINO STUFF? ANYWAY—-WISCONSIN IS COLD AS SHIT BUT SO MUCH FUN. ILL CALL YOU AGAIN SOMETIME WITH ANOTHER DRUNK KARAOKE SONG TO SING YOU? CAN YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE GAVE ME A JOB AS A BARTENDER/ FUNNY!!!!!!!! GOTTA TAKE A CLL- WRITE BACK SOON
ROBIN


January 8, 2001
Dear Robin,
Okay, I can’t handle it anymore, what the hell is up with your emails? Every time I read one of them, I feel like you’re yelling at me. HAHAHA! The ALL CAPS, and exclamation points scare me!!!!!

Anyway, the girls here are still the same-hilarious, chain-smoking, white trash, and always ready to party. Of course I love them.

Well, I have to go—-I think my Editor is going to make me interview Britney Spears this week (I WANT MADONNA!), and I’m loathing the thought of it. I have no idea what sort of questions to ask because I could care less.

Talk to you soon.

Chris


JANUARY 8, 2001
CHRIS!!!!!!!!!!
WHAT THE HELL!!  I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TYPE!! WITH THE SHIFT THINGY AND SHIT—-IT’S CONFUSING!!! I DIDN’T’ TAKE TYPING BECAUSE I DIDN’T EVER PLAN ON HAVING A TYPEWRITER OR BEING A SECRETARY!!! HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO PREDICT THE FUTURE AND KNOW COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET WOULD TAKE OVER? IT TAKES ME 45 MINUTES TO FIND LETTER G. I HATE THIS SHIT. 

——————— It took me about six years to type well enough to attempt a career as a writer. In addition to passing on the chance to take a typing class, I also had a drunk as a high-school English teacher. I was never formally trained to write. You can read more about my English teacher, (who called me Sparrow, instead of Robin, lol!), and my miseducation (<—-got that word from Lauryn Hill) in the art of punctuation, and grammar.

My apologies if I offend you. I do pay for grammar software, but sometimes even it gives up on me.

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