Monday, October 15, 2012

hello out there!

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?"


  1. What DID we do before internet? I can't even remember!
    You really have met some interesting people during your short stint as a hotel desk agent! Then again, the overnight shifters always have better stories than I do.
    I'm like you. Other than not using my real name, I'm pretty much "what you see is what you get". Although I haven't filled you in on ALL my flaws, so maybe I do mask a few things....

    1. It really was a whole 'nother world wasn't it!? The graveyard shift was worth it for the extra pay and weirdos.
      Flaws you say???

  2. I went from days to swings at the factory. Man I got a lot of work done during those shifts, but there was always an aura of "the bosses will never find out...." -- kinda like "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". No good stories, though, and after reading a few of yours, I must be really boooring.

    1. Yep, I've had similar factory shifts. Things are different once the "Ties" go home!

  3. Lord do I remember working nights by myself with the "Primitive" equipment of the day, it's cool you found a friend with a hack to make the nights more fun.

    I too have blogged for quite a while now and would have such a hard time with the alter ego so to say, I am too much myself at times, heck I actually had a page with pictures and names of my immediate family which I took down after coming to my senses.

    Politics and Religion are topics I try to stay away from, but last week I started a post and it ended up making me sound like a political activist somewhat, I had a good Friend say "Ooh, treading into dangerous waters here Jimmy!" Thanks Abby I think that is when I realized I should have kept it off the blog :)

    1. Yes, I remember that post.
      No further comment :)

  4. I remember trying to chat online many years ago with a friend in South Africa. It was a disaster, as it took so long for the messages to go backwards and forwards we were always about 3 messages behind each other...

    1. Ha! Reminds me of a "Mom" discussion board I frequented in the dail-up days. I'd start the page loading, then go brew the coffee, clean house, feed the kids...