Saturday, April 7, 2012

In The Beginning...

This is a story I started writing in May 2008, about my first night on the Internet in IRC chat, which was July 4, 1996.  Just found it while cleaning up my laptop.  I am thinking of continuing to write and get it finished.  Not sure what the actual title will be.

Chapter 1 – First Impressions

“You were kicked from #BabyBoomers by cb© (That's all folks!!!)”

“Wow!  That was rude!  Who is cb© and why did they do that?  I never talked to this person before and they kick me out of a channel on IRC? “

Those were the thoughts she had upon being kicked from an IRC channel that she had just entered for the first time less than 24 hours ago.  Common sense would tell her to not go back, but she had an uncontrollable urge to get even with this rude person.  Her Mac disconnected from the dial-up connection and has now locked-up.  While she waits for the reboot, she looks out the back window at the group in the yard, clustered around the picnic table.  Foolish people, sitting there talking about other people, including her. 
She had returned to school a year ago at the age of 40 and was told by her husbands family that she was “too old” to go to school.  Her husband accused her of only going to meet guys.  Yea, right, the other students were at least 20 years younger than she was, and most of them called her “Mom”.  It didn’t matter, she was determined to get her degree and had become quite good at ignoring all the negativity that drifted from “that” side of the family.
            Finally, the familiar tone of a “Happy Mac” at startup.  Slowly but surely the icons display at the bottom, showing all the programs and extensions that are loading.  Probably everything installed.  She just got the Mac a few months ago and was still learning how to set it up.  The Internet is a new experience and one that most people still have reservations about.  “It’s the devil”, some say.  “It will ruin your life”, are the words of the uninformed.  The Internet is a great new adventure with a wealth of information at your fingertips for the taking.  IRC Chat, also known as Internet Relay Chat, is an open platform, usually served up on a UNIX server.  Channels can be created by anyone that wants one, and controls are in place to keep the peace.  Macs are still the “red-headed step child” of computer programs, so there aren’t a lot of options available for the Internet other than Netscape and Global Chat programs.  Very basic, no frills, but they get the job done.
            With the Mac fully booted, it’s on to the task of revenge.  First, dial-up to the Netcom server; listen to the number being dialed, then the ring, then the modem tones, up-down-up, steady tone, finally….connected!  She clicks the Netscape icon, and then navigates to the web page for Global Chat.  Towards the middle of the page is the link for the channel she was just kicked out of, #BabyBoomers, on the server  She clicks the link and waits for the server to appear.  Once she has the connection to the server, she types in “/join #babyboomers” and she is there.  Looking at the list of users, she sees that most of the same people are still there, even the rude one that caused her an hour of aggravation.  She is greeted by the others: “WB SassyRed”, “good to see you again SR”.  All of a sudden, she hears a click and sees what looks like a star next to her name.  Not knowing what this means, she types into the input line, “What happened?  Why is there a star next to my name?”.  It is then explained to her by one of the others, named “LuvBug” that she is now an Op and can kick anyone out of the room that she wants to.  So she finds the control for kick, and proceeds to kick the one that kicked her.  POOF!  He’s gone!  But then he’s back; she kicks again, and he is back AGAIN!  This is ridiculous.  This goes on for about 10 minutes, with kick and return repeating itself.  Finally she has had enough and really gets angry.  She asks cb© what his problem is. 

There is a long pause, then LuvBug answers, “cb is just playing.  He didn’t mean anything by it but if you want to kick him again go right ahead, we can always ban him.”   She sits there and thinks about it for a minute then decides that it will be more fun to cause some aggravation for the one who caused her some.  She replies “No, let him stay, I want to get more revenge”.  Upon hearing this, cb can’t help but join in.  He has always been the instigator, stirring up trouble where trouble wasn’t known before.  He had a knack for getting under other’s skin and then making a joke of it.  Little does he know he has met his match, in more ways than one.

Chapter 2 –

#Babyboomers proved to be a very friendly group of people, from all over the globe and different walks of life.
One was a single mom with three kids, struggling to keep food on the table.  Another was a retired railroad man, who was single but looking.  There was a hospital administrator, an accountant, social worker, truck driver, military veterans, housewives, and struggling artists.  No mention of status or wealth was made and lifestyles were not an issue.  Everyone respected everyone else regardless of who or what they were.  #Babyboomers was a family.
PC’s seemed to be the dominant computer in use but there were a few Mac users, SassyRed was one of them.  She caught grief from everyone, least of all the “one”, that incorrigible cb who insisted on calling her RED.  He made fun of her Mac, said it was better used as a boat anchor, or doorstop. 
One day, when there were only a few online, a new user joined, her name was “DixieRed”, and she and Sassy hit it off immediately.  The bond was sealed when it was revealed that Dixie also had a Mac, and they soon became known as “cyber sisters”.  Dixie was in Ohio and Sassy was in Illinois, but they managed to keep in touch no matter what.  Both of them were Irish, and had a penchant for “Gone With The Wind”.  Dixie was probably more into it since she had one room in her home that was loaded with all type of GWTW memorabilia imaginable.  Plates, figurines, dolls, wall hangings, etc.  She bought anything she saw that referenced GWTW, including a genuine show bill from a movie theatre in Georgia.
            Sassy and Dixie were a team now, and heaven help anyone that got in the way.  They were the only ones who could call each other “RED”, anyone else was met with a “dead trout slap”, or was hit over the head with a giant UNIX manual.