#216 – Seeing That Hot Girl’s Name Pop Up On Your AIM Buddy List

Not only am I dating myself with this one, but this feeling is just another example of how things have changed. As with so many other feelings listed before, this one is truly a reflection of getting older. The only reason it still ranks, frankly, is because when this feeling was in its prime, it was a fucking powerhouse.

For whatever reason, AOL Instant Messenger had a grip on my generation. After an entire day of school in which we spent nearly every waking second talking to one another, we’d rush home and sign on to AOL (back in the days when it wasn’t a guarantee that you were going to actually get on the internet every single time).

Slowly, the buddy list would populate. The various Backstreet Boys and N*Sync monikers, names spelled with random capital letters that made the person look like a serial killer, first names and birthdays, favorite players and favorite numbers… they’d all be there. But there was one that you’d always keep an eye out for.

For me, it was a girl I’d later go on to date in high school. Her screen name was something like DME1728 (her initials, and some combination of numbers that, I’m nearly positive was not her birthday… Though at this point, that wouldn’t matter because I have no idea what that date is anyway).

She had three siblings and wasn’t able to monopolize the internet in her house the way I was, so her time was always brief. Sometimes the name would drop to the idle list and she never was a big fan of using away messages, so I wasn’t always sure when she was there.

But boy oh boy, did my heart skip a beat when that screen name would pop up. I’d get all excited, start thinking of things to say, my mind racing—and then I’d stop and wait.

And then wait some more.

I couldn’t be the guy that was messaging her the exact second she signed on. Didn’t want to make it seem too obvious I was clearly waiting for her.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When you’d send an IM to someone (namely, a girl you had a crush on) and there was no response. Was she there? Did she see the message? Should I send something else? Maybe she’s in serious trouble? What if her entire house burnt down but the computer somehow withstood the tragedy?

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