I was sitting at the quiet desk, a little bored, feeling a bit sorry for myself. It was about 2 o'clock in the morning of Thanksgiving. I was at work.
This was back in my young-girl-works-at-a-hotel days. I used to do the graveyard shift on the usual graveyard shifter's nights off. So he had Thanksgiving eve off. I would work the following night too.
I was sitting there amid my cash register tapes and various debits and credits and lovely 10-key calculator, not to mention my large pot of coffee, when the massive dot matrix printer spit out a little "Happy Thanksgiving" message.
This was back in the days before the internet. Shocking sometimes to remember.
But, at least hotels had their own little internal networks. They were mainly for booking and receiving reservations. Any type of human-to-human correspondence went through the huge dot matrix printers. It was all very Flintstonian...
...or was it?
The Happy message was just the thing to perk me up from my pity party. It was from another bored, lonely graveyard shifter in Chicago named Tony.
Long story short, that night, Tony educated me in a few system hacks that allowed correspondence through the hotel computers akin to instant messaging and e-mail - none of which involved the monster printer and its machine gun sound effects. From then on, I was part of the underground subculture of hotel night auditors.
And so began my "online" persona.
Then, as now, I've pretty much just been myself. I've had a blog for years and the idea of having an online alter ego sounds like too much work - well, other than making up the fake family names...
Blogging, like hacking the hotel computer network, has been a way for me to meet people from all over with similar interests and values. If I made up a fake version of myself, wouldn't that attract fake blog friends? What's the point?
If there's any "masking" going on, I do avoid politics and other divisive issues. But that's true in real-life too unless I'm talking one-on-one with somebody. Other than that I just try to avoid being boring.
And Tony? He joined the Marines. We were "pen pals" for a few years, but I lost track of him a long time ago.
I was remembering him, though, with Agg79's buildup for his Phillipine adventure.
Tony ate the balut. To impress me? It worked.
Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:
"Social media allows you to mask parts of your personality and show others. What percentage of yourself do you think you reveal to people online?"