I spend at least eight hours a day staring at not one computer screen but two. I also have two keyboards and two mouse pads at my fingertips.
Our all-employee meetings are a veritable smorgasbord of mobile devices. (Most of us are team-Mac, but a few lone developers continue to ride the PC train, despite the PC’s obvious inferiority. Kidding. Kind of.)
My day-to-day conversations involve phrases like “optimizing anchor tags” and “pushing to the stage server.” It sounds fancier than it is, but as I threw out a few tech-nerd words the other day, I realized just how significantly the role technology plays in my life has altered.
This reminiscing naturally brought me back to the good old days of dial-up Internet and wired everything. I’ve always been what you’d call a girly-girl, so technology initially held little appeal for me.
The impetus for my eventual foray into the online world was a boy. Shocker, huh?
He was a tall, blonde basketball player and the envy of all seventh-grade guys. He wore puka shell necklaces and Air Jordans. Undeniably attractive accessories. He had it all — including his own email account.
Back in the olden days, we didn’t have cell phones, so the only way a boy could contact you without his name showing up on your parents’ Caller ID (completely mortifying) was for him to pass you a folded piece of notebook paper in the hallway. That was until email came along.
The day the blonde basketball player asked if he could email me, I swooned, I giggled and I ran right home and signed myself up for an AOL account.
For the next three months, I spent my afternoons waiting anxiously for the screeching dial-up connection to give way to one blissful phrase: “You’ve got mail.”
(As I sat in my dad’s study reading those emoticon-laden love notes, I fancied myself as Meg Ryan from “You’ve Got Mail.” This, friends, is how online dating is meant to be done.)
My virtual romance (which included exchanges of “You’re so cool” and mushy stuff like that) didn’t last long, but I still remember it fondly — along with *NSYNC and Giga Pets.
My co-workers laughed the first time I mentioned that I still have that email account. The name I used screams seventh-grade girl, so I can’t use it in professional settings, and it has been overtaken by spam, but I can’t seem to let it go.
It’s a reminder of teenage infatuation, my technological roots and a wonderfully awkward stage in my life known as the ’90s.
While you’re using FaceTime on your iPhone today, reflect on your first MySpace account. Oh, to be young again.