There was a time years ago beginning in 2003 and ending abruptly in January 2010 when I was rather “addicted” to online chat, spending way too much time in one particular chatroom. I hate to even confess this, but it is true.
Long into the nights, I would have conversations with strangers that sometimes lasted hours over weeks, months or even years. Most were just for one night or a few, and ended, mostly at the doing of the other person. I was usually game to keep going when by doing this I made a fool of myself on more then one occasion by presuming too much about others snd appearing needy, which I guess I was.
This was all highly frustrating, often humiliating, but also enlightening and revealing and highly enjoyable, as time flew by with alway the possibility of a big, pleasant surprise — a new good fiend, someone to hang out with, and more.
Much of the chatting was meaningless and embarrassing drivel, but some of it caught fire, and represented a genuine and burning attempt by me and others who responded favorably to my inquiries, at least for a short time, to explore dimensions of myself I’d never really delved into with anyone previously. It was anonymous and it could be riveting and potentially life altering, in good and bad ways. It was adventurous and also risky. I was on a quest. It was perfect for a lonely single person like myself whose only other social outlet was work, and that was very limiting, though vital, too, of course. After some seven years of doing this, the final result was one (I think) lasting friendship, but lately even that one is hanging by a slender thread.
Today you never hear of chat rooms because their function has been absorbed into to monopolistic behemoths like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms that try to addict you with their self-serving, money-grubbing platforms, namely Facebook, which I dropped ten years ago.
The point of this beginning diatribe is simply this. I had not had a lengthy chat with anyone (and by lengthy I mean three or more hours) since 2010. I had quit all chat pretty much cold turkey, except for brief messaging with a few online friends in the ensuing ten years. Didn’t really miss it. Didn’t think about it that much. Most people dont have the time for it, excpt for those night owls lke myself who thrive in the dark, still late nights when everyone else is asleep and I’m at the peak of the day’s productivity. All this while I was working full time and getting 4-5 hours if sleep a night, max. I functioned fine during the day. I just was pretty much glad when the day was over and night had set in.
Then, about a month or so ago, I discovered a quite fascinating person into all kinds of interesting philosophy, psychology and esoteric knowledge. So one night (and there were only two lengthy chats) I found myself swept up into one of those alternative universe chats into which I had plunged so often years ago, and which mesmerized and excited me. And it was all because of the Internet, of course.
It was happening again. Suddenly it seemed like deja vu “all over again.” I began to feel like I was temporarily suspended once more in a twilight world of unknown possibilities. And then it ended as abruptly as it began. The person, who was in New Zealand, a country I’m fascinated by, simply disappeared. What I hoped would progress and continue is now only a wispy filament of smoke and mirrors, unfathomably lost, whereas just a week ago it seemed so ripe with possibilities for learning and mind expansion on my part and vice versus, I had hoped.
Here is just a brief snippet of the conversation near the end of our second and final Direct Message chat on Oct. 10:
All fascinating to me. But my quest is inner now, not outer.
Time is running out so the nature of my immediate surroundings is my universe.
I have travel plans but they aren’t urgent or necessary as they once were or seemed to be at the time.
I learn all I need now in my immediate surroundings.
Can you even imagine where this was leading. As it turns out, into those innumerable dead ends of life we have to back out of, mystified and left searching for hints of meaning in it all.