Messenger.

You can tell a lot about a person based on the way they carry a chat conversation.

Some of the most vibrant and vivid children from Primary 6 would sound clumsy and curt in e-mails, some were as plain as white bread just as they presented themselves, but my favorites were the ones who were subtly enthralling and had no idea of the power that they wielded with words.

Maybe I was just an overly imaginative kid then. I was unrealistically afraid, in the way timid children always will be, about becoming uninteresting, dull, irrelevant. The Internet was my medium, my sacred orifice, be it in decorating my Neopets store or talking to the popular kid so far off in real life on MSN Messenger. In a way, my 12 year old peculiar, unadulterated being, my lack of wisdom and my burgeoning interest involving the Internet was a wreck that couldn’t have been prevented. What would you possibly expect from the child of an IT technologist after all?

I’ve retained some aspects till today. I get just as excited to talk to someone via technological mediums as I do in getting to know a person in real life. I look forward to recognizing the nervous tics, whether he/she types in lowercase or with proper diction, proper punctuation, to know if he/she can be endlessly compelling enough to go with any topic (from politics to personal preferences), the approximate length of a ‘brb’. Wordy ones have always been a favorite. And also the ones who don’t take years to respond, although the ones who respond too soon stress me out too. What does it mean to eagerly and willingly be intrigued by documentations of all forms of people? I like to think that this sign of wonderment is something I’ve retained from being a kid.

If a graph could be plotted for every online conversation, it would fill up telephone book after telephone book in terms of the meaningless but also the meaningful, the many budding friendships, falling-outs, awkward flirtations, small talk, etcetera. The tiniest details have always devoured me mercilessly and whole. Looking back, I might wish to extrapolate the length of some of these conversations, rocky as they were from the start. And similarly I might wish to prematurely end the lifespans of some had I known how I would inevitably overanalyze them in future days. But it’s pointless to ruminate anymore now, so enough with that.

Growing up is interesting because although you slowly become less affected by whatever names people call you, sometimes the coolness also comes with a whopping dosage of apathy. You go through days going “eh” to most things. As if it isn’t bad enough that we are conditioned to be numb to violence and sex because of the media. Nothing is really shocking or touching anymore. Or not really, anyway. What have we not seen? And it’s exactly because of this that occasionally you want to revert to the gawky excitable youth who was lame enough to stay in every single Friday night to log in on MSN Messenger in hopes of stupid follies to take place (this reminds me so much of bratty, melodramatic doomed characters like Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary). You hope to feel as excited as you were by the prospect of Birthdays and Disneyland and yet the longer life gets, the harder it is to find that excitement. Looking for it requires effort, and most people don’t like putting in more effort than necessary.

What I’m saying is.. I don’t really know where I’m getting at. But it’s not to just stay indoors and chat your life away because it’s safe and it won’t hurt you and faraway strangers are nice to have as a form of release because I get that, I’ve felt that. I mean, entertainment values considered, I wish I could provide you with an insightful list of common stereotypes or telltale signs you’d find in conversations without coming off conceited and make this post a lot more personable and somewhat fun. Man, I myself would love to compose such a thing. I love lists like that, I love going with my mind and unintentionally making myself and others laugh. Being satirical and/or stupid is fun. But it isn’t easy because I may also be tempting with the idea of being an asshole for simply coding people into categories. And anyway, I have a bigger point to make here which I swear is still occupied somewhere in my mind trying to navigate its way around coherently.

But what I’m saying is that these conversations are sustenance in the form of yet another unhealthy intangible medium, vast remains of sticky memories that remain fragmented yet fond, memories of an era which if you’re in your twenties or older should now be withdrawn. All I’m saying is that this should be like a sticky note to myself, that moving on past the Internet is essential to find what really drives you. Because the Internet is amazing, I can attest to that. It opens up a whole new world of information, despite the costs that come with it. If you’re clever and have enough of a brain to utilize it well without being too dependent on your Internet life, then all the more power to you. But what I’m saying is that the Internet should be an accessory, not the main part of your life in itself. If you’re not careful you won’t find what it is that drives you and it’s easy to let one hour drag to two, to four, and then be uninspired by the end of the day. Trust me, I have Netflix and the wonderful world of YouTube, Skype, and endless lifestyle blogs with unappetizing yet beautifully health-conscious food have all sucked me in too.

But wouldn’t it be nice to go out and love someone/something every once in awhile and be able to hold onto it, tangibly?

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2 thoughts on “Messenger.

  1. Hi Shari, long time reader, first time commenting. agree on most of the points. i think the word you’re looking for here is ‘standards’. in sense of everything that we do, society plays a big part of setting what excites and what kills off. there are bars of standards in human interaction (things to do/say/etc) which society perceives from time to time that changes like a fragile commodity.

    And, there are all sorts of different societies (that list of the people you talk to), no?

    Alright, in simple engrish, pris don’t take this wrong, maybe we have come to a point where you have tasted a bit of everything. we learn tonnes by reading up stuff, and talking to all kinds of people. and by that, we may have set your standard a bit somewhere these different societies can/can’t intersect.

    On a side note, the internet is never to wall us in and standards are never meant to be taken seriously. we’re living at the edge these days, we almost never put effort into other post-modern-traditional little things like waking up early to prepare some toast, go to the malls when they’re still empty, or clicking ‘like’ on that old friend of ours for whatever he/she is posting. some chose to be stuck on the net overnight complaining things we wish we could do, having which kind of people we wish to meet or thinking how our acquaintances should act.

    Anyways, that’s my case, yours are sure to be different over there. however, i would simply choose netflix for one night and going out for something/with someone the next night for the rest of my life. damn these dodgy torrents over here.

  2. Hey, standards may be what I was trying to express after all. It’s true that society dictates most of what happens everyday but I wish that it would be easier to digress from society without feeling isolated or getting negative consequences from it. Thank you for offering a bigger view of the whole picture because I think I was trying to look for it but couldn’t quite grasp where I was getting at, it felt like it was at the tip of my tongue.

    I wish that it is easier to talk to everybody with a blank, unbiased slate every time we meet somebody new. In the end, all of us do make judgments based on what we know and what we think we know, which of course will inevitably lead to stereotyping. We try to make ourselves feel better by categorizing or belittling others but I feel that it doesn’t work most of the time. In fact, it ends up making us feel even crummier about ourselves instead.

    There are points to think about from here though. I feel like the older we get and the more we see of the world, the more we have the propensity to be arrogant if we’re not careful.

    Again, thanks for the narrowing my view and making me a learn a thing or two from my own post. I always appreciate the fact that there are readers out there.

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