I had only set up my very first e-mail account a few months before that. I was in the habit of asking people, “Do you have an e-mail address?” just as a novelty back then. I was always happy when someone wanted my e-mail address, but I was especially curious about this request.
My husband and I were actually married for several years before we realized my dad had tricked us both. We were telling this story together and when we got to this part, my husband said I had asked for his e-mail address.
“That’s what your dad said!” he replied.
I was so mad at my dad about this. He had not asked for my e-mail address at all. And I certainly had not asked for his. But we were already happily married at that point, so I had to get over it. Now, 14 years later, we both laugh at this twist in the story.
Anyway, this was before I actually had The World Wide Web. I had e-mail and the limited functions offered by AOL, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. All I needed was more people who had discovered e-mail in my life so they could send me messages.
It had already been a few weeks since I had handed over my e-mail address, and I still hadn’t received any messages.
I assumed my dad hadn’t succeeded in delivering my e-mail address, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started typing. I tried to make my message as nonchalant as possible.
“I know we haven’t talked in eight years,” I wrote. “I just thought I would say hello.”
The truth was I couldn’t remember ever having spoken to him at all, not even one time in my life. This probably doesn’t sound like much of a statement. But we grew up in a small town. We went to a small high school. We had common friends. He played football with my brother. He went to prom with one of my good friends. Our parents knew each other.
And yet. For some reason. I could not remember ever having spoken a single word to him. He might have been the only person in my entire graduating class that I literally never
It wasn’t that I didn’t like him. Our paths just never seemed to cross.
He was an athlete. I was the valedictorian.
He played football, and I was in the marching band. Even though he wasn’t a big guy, he was fast, and he scored lots of touchdowns as a running back. I was so busy marching around with my saxophone or socializing with people in the bleachers that I hardly had time to notice the people running across the field.
He also played basketball and ran track, but baseball was his sport. I played tennis and worked on the school newspaper. (That’s me in the photo, holding my tennis racket like it’s a guitar. Some things never change.)
I also signed up for every club I could in an attempt to get my photo on as many pages as possible in the high school year book. While I spent most of my time trying to fit in with the “popular” crowd, he was content to hang out on his grandfather’s farm on the weekends.
I wondered what he would think about getting an e-mail from me?
I clicked my mouse. The dial-up modem went through its little sing-song chorus. Errrrkkkk-Eeeeekkkkk. “Connecting,” the status bar said.