2023-02-06: restart

adjacent to everything i used to do on the internet was chatting. i'd work on my website and chat with high school friends, listen to my winamp playlists and send messages to people across town or across the country or across the world. icq, then aim, almost as good; after that came msn (bad), then, i don't know, facebook messenger (awful, terrible)? chat's been grim for a long time, or at least it's felt that way.

in north america most people just use sms on their phones, and it's okay, i guess. it's incredibly basic. it mostly works. we don't know better.

most of the rest of the world uses whatsapp, including my relatives overseas, who have been adding and re-adding me to the extended family chat for years, gently reminding me to participate. i don't know. it's always nice to see what's going on in their lives, but it never seemed to stick.

a few days ago, one of my old friends added me to a whatsapp chat of their closest people, a mix of people i knew and didn't, friends and strangers. a couple dozen participants, maybe half of them active. people i knew from when i first kept a journal. when we were opening our lives to each other online.

i knew i missed just chatting but i didn't realize how much, and how weak even an SMS group chat was in comparison, a simulacrum of what we used to do, what we were doing again. even though i'm doing all this on my phone, it fees in the best way like the evenings i'd waste on aim, chatting with strangers off in lansing or ottawa or the poconos.

through high school and in the summers between each year; after classes in undergrad, whether that was 3pm or 1am. coming home after spending the night out at the observatory. who's on. even just to hi and then sleep.

i missed that so much. and now it's back in my life. i'm making new friends. i'm reconnecting with old ones, those particular conversations picking up like they never stopped. i'm blessed for all these people i may never meet. i hope the other good people i used to talk to are out there too. that maybe they might think of me. that one day we could chat again.