Mid-90s for me was late high school. I could sense my sentence coming to an end. I began to isolate myself. I quit band and lacrosse and barely socialized at lunch. Even though it was almost over, it wasn’t relief I felt. What was I going to do now? At least in school I had a set-place to go, assigned things to do, I had acquaintances.
But f*ck school, man. Just a piece of sh*t prison by another name. Well that’s how I felt anyway, a suburban kid in an upper-middle-class town near Boston. On the outside, this is an uninteresting story — it reflects a boring motionless time — but on the inside, an intense adventure raged on.
I was visited by the triptych of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. And on top of that, more loneliness than I ever felt. My time was spent wrestling with those feelings and the dour images they inspired. I ended up continuing school in the form of college. To belabor the prison analogy, I was sentenced with a combination of house-arrest and probation for the next few years.
In college, I knew no one. There was no time to form acquaintanceships. But do you know what happened in the mid-90s? Windows 95 was released. And do you know what happened not long after that? An explosion in the popularity of personal-computers — the PC era was born. And do you know what followed that? An explosion in the popularity of online-services (AOL, Prodigy, CompuServe). And you obviously know what happened next? THIS. The Internet became a global phenomenon.
But back to online-services. Within those silly-little text-boxes, I was able to chat with people from around the country. I could finally interact with people in a way that felt comfortable. And I did just that, for a few years at least. It was at the end of the mid-90s when I met my friend (on an online-service, in a chat-room of course).
So the narrative I experienced in the mid-90s can be summed-up as this:
1. Self-isolation and the resulting loneliness.
2. Discovery of a new platform of communication.
3. Awakening as a communicative being.
4. The foundation of a lifelong friendship.
That’s a tidy little narrative don’t you think? How can something like that happen within a physical-world based on random-chance? Sounds a little too coincidental, no? My character’s lack fulfilled by a deus-ex-machina-level intervention? Hmm. But I appreciate it, without doubt. My life after meeting my friend was much improved.