Before Texting, Facebook, and other things that make socializing easier…by M-E

In honor of my 30th birthday, I thought I’d reminisce on my youth, since it has now officially gone and left the building.

What I like to read is teen fiction. That’s what I like to write about as well. I’m working on revisions on my YA (Young Adult) book and it dawned on me that I really didn’t have a place for social networking in my story. I just hadn’t really thought about it while I was writing the book. Why? Because as the story unfolded in my head, it was basically happening twelve-thirteen years ago, when I was in high school.

This brings me to what I want to blog about today: What socializing was like back in my day.

1) The Telephone

It all started with the telephone. Remember not having to type in the area code when you dialed? Anyway, at first, if we’re going as far back as grade eight, I used to mostly call my best friend (same best friend mentioned in my previous post). Most of the time, I’d call and it was busy. Sometimes it was busy for hours. Pick up the phone, call. Beep-beep-beep. Sh*t! Call again three minutes later. Busy again?! WTF! Finally, three hours later, it rings. “I’ve been calling all night! Now I have to go to bed ’cause it’s a school night. Bye.”

If I called (or she called me) and we got lucky, one of us answered right away. But then, I’d get the constant pick-ups from somewhere in your house. Predictably, my mom or dad needed to use the phone. Then, after four or five of those, I’d get, “Uh, M-E, I need the phone”.

Sometimes, one would get roped into long convos that one couldn’t break away from. Mostly, because in my world, admitting that you wanted to hang up to go do something else was like, the rudest thing ever. So, the solution to that went a little something like this: “Blah blah blah–oh, hang on a sec.” Pretend to cover the phone with a hand and yell, “What? Really, now? Fine.” Go back on the phone and act annoyed while you say, “My dad needs the phone. I gotta go.”

I’d often get screwed because my dad was waiting for some kind of business call. That could mean hours of just waiting around. All because we didn’t have call-waiting. Call-waiting is like, one of the most important inventions of the century. Before that, life was just one big-ass busy signal.

Again, when came time to deal with wanting to terminate a phone call, it still felt really rude. So, when call-waiting came, the scenario changed to: “Oh, hang on–I got a beep.” Go on the other line, listen to the dial tone for a couple seconds, then flip back over. “Yeah, it’s someone calling for my mom. Gotta go.” Sometimes, if your friend was ballsy, he or she would say, “I didn’t hear a beep.” Awkward…

2) The Modem/BBS era

Before the internet, my best friend (who apparently shall remain nameless) introduced me to the use of my dad’s modem. It started with my dad’s Windows 3.1 PC and a basic black screen with a blinking cursor. My computer would dial and my best friend’s computer would pick up. Then, we’d type to each other. It was like MSN, except that’s all you could do. Just type to each other.

You could also dial in to something called a BBS. It was the way to talk to local guys and then start telephone courtships that went nowhere. You’d spend hours dialing but the lines were always busy. Finally, you’d sign on. There might be a couple other people online as well, then, you play some stupid games or you just wait around for someone to message you.

Here’s what sucked: You spend three hours after school trying to sign in to a BBS and when you finally do, someone in your house picks up the phone and it totally kills your connection and hangs up. So you start flipping out, yelling at your sister, and you get back on, dialing for another three hours ’cause some other compulsive dialer stole your spot.

3) The Pager

I was one of those unbelievably cool fourteen-year-olds with a pager. It was green and the size of a small pack of cigarettes, I swear. I’d be out with my friends and I’d get a beep. Someone from my house was trying to get a hold of me. Probably my mom. Now what? I’m out with my friends; I can either walk all the way home to see what’s up, or I can bum a quarter from someone and walk to a pay phone. Either way, ANNOYING. Pagers were cool, in theory. In practice, they were just irritating disturbances into my “hanging out” time.

4) MIRC

When the internet started coming around, you could hang out in the internet relay chats. Lots of chat rooms, lots of servers, and LOTS of pervs. You could never find your friends. You’d agree to find each other in the “teen chat” room, except there were 100 of them, and you were stuck on some different server and you got lagged, and people PINGed you all the time. I didn’t know what was going on. I gave a picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar as my pic when guys asked me for one. They’d say, “You look like Buffy” and I’d be like, “Really? Weird.” I didn’t have cable then, so I didn’t really watch Buffy. I just wasn’t about to put a picture of my round, fat-girl face with teased bangs and frizzy hair online.

5) My First Cell Phone

I had a cell phone near the end of high school. A Nokia 5190. It had the game Snake on it. I’m not sure what I did with it. I know I kept it in my bag during class. There was no such thing as texting and browsing then. It basically just had Snake and phone calls. Kinda boring, I guess.

 

That’s the evolution of my socializing. I don’t know how much different my high school life would’ve been with Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and all that crap. In my day, you had your diary, writing notes in class, and your yearbook at the end of the year. Otherwise, everything was done in person.

I’d love to hear (read) anyone’s thoughts/stories on their socializing.

😀

Moving Out, Getting a Life…by M-E

I got to thinking about when you’re young(er), living at home, probably in the same bedroom you’ve had since you had a bed time. At some point, for most people anyway, comes the time to move out and get a place of your own. Get a bunch of bills and complications. I was thinking today, after having a convo with my best friend. Thinking about the fact that instead of ordering pizza, I had to buy toilet paper. Paper that you use to wipe your ass, then you just throw it out, watch it flush away. $20 of my money…just right down the toilet.

**I just have to add that really, I was sad because I wanted to buy pizza instead of ass-paper BUT, the pizza would’ve disappeared into my stomach, turned into crap, and that also would’ve just been flushed down the toilet so…same difference I guess.

Anyway, that’s just the kind of expense that comes with managing your own household, growing up, getting old.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s AWESOME. I still look at my place (years after having moved out) and I think, Look at this place; it’s like a real home. I have tools, and extra bedding, and tooth brushes for guests, and a food processor. It’s not just playing house. This sh*t is for real.

For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to reminisce on my journey out of my parents’ house and into the fabulous apartment, in the douchiest building, that I share with my girlfriend and our two cute-ass Chihuahuas.

#1: My friend’s super-cool townhouse

~It all started a few months before I finished nursing school. I was 22 and I had no money. My friend, Natili (not exactly her real name) bought a cool townhouse in Scarborough. I moved my stuff into one of the two extra rooms. We had a freakin’ great time. We played Super Nintendo; froze our asses off because heating was too expensive; got a dog who peed on the carpet, turned evil every time he took a dump, and destroyed things like movies, college honor roll letters, and brand new cigarette packs. Natili would make me dinner sometimes, ready for when I got home from hospital placements. It was like a long-ass sleepover, in an igloo. Then, six weeks later, it ended. Something in that house (perhaps the essence of fifty cats that had soaked into the walls and floors) gave me horrendous allergies. To the point of nearly getting pneumonia and not being able to breathe.

I lugged all my crap back to my parents’ house. Except my sister had taken over my room by then, I believe, so I ended up in the unfinished basement with a curtain for a door.

#2: The basement apartment in Oshawa–enough said

~I started working as a nurse, so I could afford some rent. My mom and I went to check out this basement apartment in a bungalow in Oshawa. The price was good and the apartment was a one-bedroom that was pretty spacious. The landlord was a nice dude. So, I signed the lease. I moved in and it took a couple hours for me to realize it wasn’t gonna work.

First of all, I could hear EVERYTHING the people upstairs were doing. From Montel on TV, to cutlery being jangled in the silverware drawer. The laundry was next to my place, so whenever the lady came down to throw a load in, it sounded like someone was breaking into my place. Then, there was the issue with the looooong driveway that was only wide enough for one car. Apparently, I was to leave my keys next to the side door so that the upstairs tenants and I could move each others’ cars when we needed to get out. Uh…what now?

I don’t remember actually living there. It took five days and I got my money back and moved the hell out. Back home I went. This time, I took my little sister’s old room–the tiny one with the baby wallpaper. I could fit my bed and a dresser but  it was quiet and at least I could sleep.

#3: My first, amazing apartment

~A few months after the botched basement apartment thing, my mom and I went to check out a 2-bedroom apartment not far from my parents place. I love Ajax so that was great. It was a semi-crappy highrise that the company was trying to fix up and revamp. So, my apartment was all redone. New appliances, counters, fixtures. I loved that place. To this day, when I smell Shea butter hand soap, I think of that apartment.

I mean, the elevators were totally busted. Trapped people inside daily, or crapped out right when I got home with 56 bags of groceries, or when someone on the eleventh floor had a heart attack and needed to get transported by paramedics through the tiny stairwell. One time, the elevator door actually fell sideways and trapped a group of us inside until someone came to rescue us. The fire alarm went off every day–courtesy of whatever idiot kids lived there at the time–and I work nights, so yeah. That sucked.

#4: Back with Maman and Papa I go…

~I was partially kidnapped, partially lured into moving far, far away. To a whole other province, because my parents and sisters were moving there. Mostly, I was a big baby and I didn’t want to be left behind. I took a pay cut, took my debts with me, and ended up moving back in with my parents, in their new house up there, in rural Quebec. They were cool enough to finish their whole basement for me into a 2-bedroom apartment. I got to pick out the kitchen, get a nice bedroom finished the way I wanted it.

But…I missed Ajax, my friends, my job. All the places I used to go, you know? Plus, I wasn’t into the area, the people, the constant French language, ALL THE TIME. I’d eaten a truckload of poutine, cheese curds, and seafood–I was done.

So, 3 months later, I decided I was bailing. 6 weeks after that, I packed some of my sh*t, quit my temporary job at the hospital, left my almost-finished pretty basement apartment (wasted a hell of a lot of my parents’ money) and moved back to Ajax.

#5: A layover with another friend

~The reason I was able to come back from my 4.5 month stay in Quebec was because one of my lifelong friends, Nettle-ton (also not exactly her real name), somehow sold the idea to her mom to let me move in with them. It lasted three months. What I remember most is eating brie, sleeping so damn peacefully (it was quiet ALL DAY), and watching Alias.

#6: My current apartment, the early days

~From Nettle-ton’s place, I moved into my current place with a friend. A dude. We got a big place with rooms on opposite ends of the floor plan, with two bathrooms. For the first couple years, we lived together in there. It was old, never renovated, with filthy carpets, busted closet doors, rickety window screens, and a stove that was crusted with soot from the last fifty years. I mean, renting sucks. I wouldn’t wanna be stuck with a mortgage and all the associated homeowner crap, but still, renting means your landlord doesn’t really give a crap about doing anything to ameliorate your living situation. “Oh, your bathroom’s crumbling? We’ll get to it. In a year.”

#7: My current apartment

~Three years ago, my girlfriend (“roommate” if we’re being non-lesbianic) moved in. Ah, pure bliss. The place still sucks, the landlord is a douche, the building’s falling apart, we had to get our own appliances. I think our carpets are a cesspool for diseases we thought were long extinct. Oh, and let’s not forget the disrespectful tenants above who allow their out-of-control child to stomp over our heads 24/7. If you forget all that, then it’s just a good time. A damn domestic good time.

 

There you have it. My journey from my parents’ home all the way to my current home.

Three things I’ve learned:

1) Moving SUCKS.

2) Having one’s own place makes one very cool.

3) The more “things” you have, the more grown-up you seem.

 

If anyone reads this: I’d love to hear (read) some stories about your moving out experience(s).

 

😀

Twitter Trend Blog…by Jade Jamieson

Today’s Twitter Trend blog:

#ItMakesMeSmileWhen

 

It makes me smile when…

…my heels click against the floor when I walk.

…my phone beeps with a text message.

…my best friend Chloe sings stupid songs off key.

…my room is clean.

…my hair stays the way I styled it.

…I feel skinny.

 

But mostly, it makes me smile when…

…he picks me up and takes me on random drives.

…the text message is from him.

…he asks me what’s wrong ’cause he can tell I’m not being myself.

…I’m the one he talks to when he’s not being himself.

 

It makes me sad when…

…he dates every other girl but me.

 

~JJ

 

I wear hoodies a lot…

So, my mom always bitches ’cause whenever she takes me shopping, I don’t like anything she picks out for me. Mostly because she thinks I should still dress like a thirteen year old. With a lot of pink, and shiny glittery stuff. So then I have to like, roll my eyes and shrug a lot because I can’t come right out and say, “Ew. Gross.” Most of the time, she’ll give me money and my brother will take me to his stores–my stores now–and I’ll get what I want.

No big deal, right? Wrong.

It’s like the older I get (I’m sixteen now), the more my mom makes a big deal out of it. She acts like I’m dressed for Halloween when she sees me out of my school uniform, waiting around for Alexa to pick me up. She’s like, “You wear that,Penny? You dress like a boy?” and I’m like, “Uh…I dress like me.”

I wear hoodies. A lot. And I wear awesome skater shoes that cost too much, so I have to work a ton of hours for my brother to be able to afford them. And I wear my jeans too baggy. Too low over my boxers. Boxers–that’s another thing. My mom calls them “shorts”. I guess it makes her feel better. But, my thing is, Would she really wanna see some pink thong when I bend over? Come on. She’d bitch about that too.

So, I wear hoodies a lot. Maybe to my mother…and to other people, that makes me look weird. But, whatever. Alexa thinks I look hot.

-Pen

 

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