BC: Before Cyberworld

by Frankie Pagnacco on 7 August 2009

So the young are jumping off social networking sites as fast as they jumped on? And why this reverse phenomenon? Because their parents and teachers are storming on there in droves. Reconnecting with lost friends and lovers, having affairs, breaking up marriages, but worse, throwing sheep at their own kids.

I speak from that parental generation to tell you: we’re making up for lost connectivity and exposure.

It reminds me of a time I feel compelled to relate for its now alien quaintness. It was the mid 90s and I took off on a post graduation travel fest that lasted several years and several trips. In Antigua Guatemala I heard that my best friend was getting married by letter at Poste Restante. Mail was collected there with that old fashioned username/password combo called a passport. A day later I’d moved on and would have missed her wonderful news.

My trips were musicless except for the 2 or 3 cassette tapes of bands like ‘Juan Louis Guerra y su 4 40′ that I bought and lost along the way. They had to be played in a cumbersome Sony Walkman. The heaviest hardware was my extensive camera/lens/film/cotton buds/compressed air/filters collection. No laptops in my time although the fear of robbery was no less acute.

Keeping in touch with family and friends involved a call home to mum by telephone, the message being further relayed with errors and embellishments (again by telephone) to anyone who was interested. Facebook, myspace, bebo?

I didn’t call home. Mainly to avoid my mother’s “you’re going to die” hysteria which could be unsettling. No parental satellite tracking of my mobile co-ordinates thank god. Especially the trip where I travelled through Central America (that’s places like Nicaragua and El Salvador, not Kansas) by motorbike. On my own. Because, no word of a lie, the previous trip I’d fallen in love with Pascal, a motorcycling Frenchman (I’m only human). Pascal was quickly lost forever because we never swapped (postal) addresses. I think I thought I might just bump into him out there.

And that reminds me that only half a decade later an ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend did the exact same trip and blogged about it. And got a book deal. And is now a writer. And married to my ex.

I’m not bitter though. No. Not at all.

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