October 1, 2008

My Weekly Writing Assignment

Here are Mama Kat's prompts for the week.

The Prompts:

1. Put Shaggy (Scooby Doo's partner) and Batgirl in an elevator and write a 200 word scene.

2. Write about a time you hid from someone, or a time you disguised who you really were.

3. List 10 things worth saving then choose one of those things and write about it.

4. What did you do before we had the internet?

So let's see...

1. I'm no good at writing scenes. Or clumsy pornography.

2. I've never done that. I'm no good at lying!

3. We have very little of value. I'd save the computer; it has all our pictures on it.

4. We have a winner!

Without further ado...


Ah, life before the internet. It showed up in my house in 1997. I was in the midst of my junior year in high school and at first we were AMAZED. My friend, Diana and I would stay up till ungodly hours chatting. I distinctly remember the screen names "Imagoat" and "LilDoscha." Ha ha. We all made webpages on Angelfire and Geocities and actually had to learn some HTML. Layouts were insanely basic and didn't offer columns or anything fancy-pants. ICQ was the only way to chat. And you emailed everyone you knew just because you could.

But before that? God, let me dig into the crevices of my http://mind. I remember spending our summers riding bikes. We lived in a very small town and the majority of my friends all lived out in the country on dirt roads - or paved roads with no lines on them - so to get to anybody's house, you either had to hope you had someone's parent to drive you or you were on the Two-Wheeled Express. One day, my friend and I rode our bikes a total of 30 miles, all in the name of killing time and, you can quote me on this: "You're only 13 once, Lisa!"

I know we spent time at our one friend's place...a LOT of time. They had a big yard, a basketball hoop, and an in-ground pool. Plop yourself in western Pennsylvania in the dead heat of July and try to find a pool. Nobody has a pool in Pennsylvania because you can only use it maybe four months out of the year. This family was POPULAR. Plus, they were triplets, so it was three times the normal number of invitees.

I remember day-long trips to the mall. See, there was this joke of a "mall" in the next town over but it was very old and stores were consistently going out of business there. By the time I moved in 2003, Montgomery Wards had closed, Fashion Bug had moved, the arcade was long gone, NRM had left...all that was left was KMart, Pearle Vision Center, a pizza joint, Dollar General, the Hallmart Store, and a wannabe hair salon that butchered my hair every time I went in there.

One would think I'd stop going...but I'm stubborn like that. I had a strange optimism that someday, they'd get it right. They never did.

Anyway, we had to drive 40 minutes to the Millcreek Mall up in Erie. You leave around 10:00 a.m., get up there and go out for lunch, shop all afternoon, and grab dinner on the way home.

Let's see, what else did we do? Sports! There was summer-league softball, cheerleading, and helping the boy's volleyball team. Then there was band. Yeah, I said it. I was a band geek. I was also a choir chick. I sang, I danced, I marched, and I played a wild array of instruments. I was indispensable. (I can toot my own horn if I want to.)

And as for communication...if memory serves, we hand-wrote letters. For you younger kids, that means we broke out the stationary or lined notebook paper and a pen and scribbled out a letter - not in LOLspeak - and stuffed it in a stamped envelope, put it in the big blue box outside the post office and waited for mail to come to us. We also had land lines. That's the phone that, either by it's base or by it's receiver, is tethered to the wall by a cord. I'm sure you've seen it, hanging out in the kitchen or the office.

Hell, my mom didn't give up the phone-company-provided rotary phone until 1994. Mom has issues with technology change. It was the late 1980s before we saw a VCR, 1992 before we got a cable box, and 1997 before we got the computer.

I almost miss life before the internet came along. It was simple. You had to move your ass away from the glow of a screen to communicate with people. Of course, I also miss life as a child, when responsibility didn't dog you at every step, reminding you that even as you watch 30 get closer, day by day, you're still trying to figure out how to navigate through life.


As an aside, although I think it's a pretty important aside: thank you to everyone who expressed concern this morning. I spoke to who I needed to speak to, they were cool (almost too cool, which worries me, but that's a post for another time) and things are going to be fine. No woman, no cry...at least not for now. Thanks, guys.


Diana said...



i haven't thought about that one in years!!

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