I’m *not* trapped in a box!

I was in an hour-long stretch class with four other people this afternoon. Most were decades older than me, and as it was my first time in the class I chose to keep my mouth shut and listen to their intermittent stream of conversation, interjecting comments only when I had something genuinely worthwhile to say.

Twenty minutes into the session, my classmates began griping about the many ill characteristics of computers, and how computers were doing horrible things to us. They were griping about carpal tunnel, griping about potential eye damage, and griping because “computers are so anti-social.”

While it’s true that a computer has never actually slapped me on the back with a cheery “howyadoing?”, I disagreed (in my head; remember, it was my first class and it’s never good to be outspoken when you’re the new girl) with their final comment.

Computers get an undeserved bad rap that they’ve turned us into indoor-dwelling addicts of all things virtual. I cannot fathom another invention that has so encouraged social behavior since the telephone.

Think about it. Computers enable all people, from the outgoingly confident to the chronically lonely, to communicate with one another in as non-threatening and thought-inspiring forum as they ever could hope to find.

I’ve been a webgirl for a number of years now and the more experience I accrue, the more stories I hear about people brought together by various sectors of the Internet.

The most recent occurred this afternoon, towards the last hour of my workday. I’d received e-mail from Elizabeth, a children’s librarian from Kansas who’s been long-distance dating my ex-boyfriend’s dear childhood friend, Kurt.

They’ve been corresponding for two years. Kurt went to visit her, she came to San Jose to visit him.

She just got back home from a week in San Jose and sent me a capsule synopsis of her visit:

“I wanted to tell you that Kurt and I are getting married. 🙂 Woohoo!”

How did they meet, you ask? Via a listserv devoted to Battlestar Galactica.

Kurt posted a request for a book.

Elizabeth responded.

Elizabeth sent him the book.

“Most times I forget how I met him,” she said in her final message of the evening. “But when I stop and think about it, it just blows me away.”


It makes me especially angry when the unknowing grumble that computers are confining us in our darkened carpeted dens or “veal-fattening pens”. I speak strongly on this issue because of the people I’ve met through the ‘net.

If not for the Internet, I would most likely *not* know:

My current boyfriend: He was one of my customers when I was the customer service department for Aimnet. Our first discussion was either about dial-up networking with NT or his request that Aimnet add “alt.tv.my-so-called-life” (later shortened to alt.tv.mscl) to it’s Sprint newsfeed. We reacquainted ourselves after I left Aimnet for SOS Group, he invited me to his company Christmas open house and I went. The next morning he sent me an e-mail page that read: Nice to finally met you! Hey Lynn, you want to get married and conquer the world together?” He was very pleased when I told him I’d dumped my beau (more about him later, unless you want to skip ahead).

One of my running partners: Charley sent me mail after finding motormouth.com in the local section of Yahoo!. He’s great and always sends me something uplifting when I need some postitive reinforcement.

My boss: Dean was also an Aimnet customer, and sent me a lovely complimentary note one afternoon. Months later he offered me a job. Yay!

Alvaro in Brazil: Alvaro saw me on TV. The “New Media News” segment about my americangirl.com woes received global syndication. We’ve been pen-pals since October. He called me on Saturday to wish me good luck in the Wharf to Wharf race.

Lately I’ve reacquainted myself with a college buddy, and last week even received an adoring message from a ql seventeen-year old systems wiz who speaks ganz toll Deutsch.

“I have fallen in love with your Web site.”


I won’t even go into the fact that I’ve found two jobs, bought a laptop, and found roommates for two friends via USENET and the WWW.


Speaking of my web site, last week I learned that I’ve been being watched. Someone set a “bot” (a computer process) that checked my columns.html page every 30 minutes for changes.

The bot originated from inside the firewall of my ex-beau’s employer.

Pretty creepy, eh?

I posted a “I know you’re running a bot, kill it or I’ll complain to your hostmaster” notice to columns.html and it the bot was gone by 9:45 the next morning (btw, thank you for that).

Maybe sometimes computers encourage us to be a smidgen *overly* social.


Race Report: Wharf to Wharf 10k, Santa Cruz to Capitola 7/27/1997

Sunday morning came very early. I couldn’t find a place to stay in Santa Cruz (the Bayview Hotel in Aptos accepted my credit card and then called me back an hour later to say they had a two-night minimum stay that weekend, grrrr….), so Kevin and I woke up at 5:00 Sunday morning to drive to Santa Cruz.

True to form, there was a brief traffic jam on Highway 101 at 6:10 a.m. We still managed to make it to Santa Cruz by 6:50 a.m. Once I attached my race number to my tank top and gathered my world, Kevin and I boarded the shuttle to the race area.

We got to the starting line at 7:15 and wandered around, killing time until 8:00 when we were scheduled to meet my father and his friends (Dad and Kevin were going to walk the race route, while his friends and I would run the race). The Port-a-Lets were clean and didn’t smell (I personally tested at least four of them).

We hooked up with Dad and they began walking, while I warmed up with his friends. I was actually in a Port-a-Let when the starting gun (actually, it was a starting trumpet) sounded, but still managed to get across the starting line before thousands of others. 14,000 runners competed in the race this year.

The race was a lot of fun. I didn’t break my goal time of one hour (finished in 1:02:30), but I ran every step of the way and had a terrific time. Around mile two I saw Mike watching the race by the Crow’s Nest, so I gave him a big sweaty hug and chastised him for not participating in the race.

The race course was *much* more hilly than I’d expected, and I’m fairly certain that’s the reason why I didn’t break my goal time of one hour. I swear I didn’t think that mile 4 was ever going to end. I stopped at both water stops so that probably cost me about a minute, too.

The really incredible part of the race was the spectators. There were *30* live bands along the route, including the marching band from my alma mater, San Jose State University (go Spartans)! A number of spectators watched the race from their front lawns and cooled us off with their garden hoses. A lot of kids had those big super-soaker water guns. Getting sprayed felt great — I was very warm, despite the fact that the morning was cool.

I’d tied my windbreaker around my waist, inadvertently covering my race number, so I’m afraid I won’t get a picture from the event. Kevin took before and after shots of me with his new, tiny and absolutely adorable Canon Elph camera. We all met up after the race, picked up our goodie bags (the T-shirt design was pretty lame, and featured an androgynous runner. Think “Pat” with blonde hair), and drank beers while waiting for a deck table at Zelda’s.

Kevin and I returned to Redwood City around 2:00 (I slept the entire way home), and napped until 5:00. That night he said the “L” word for the first time.

All in all, it was a terrific day.


There’s a new cat living at my house. The old cat has left for warmer climes. How’s that for maintaining the balance of power?

OJ has run away for the third time in a month. She’s been gone for a week. She ran off a couple of weeks ago but I found her after a day. This time, I figure she knows her way home. I’ve jogged through the neighborhood calling her name but she refuses to come to me.


Whatever. I’m tired of her attitude. I knew when I adopted her from the streets of San Jose that she’d eventually wander out of my life. I’m hoping she comes back but am not holding my breath.

In the meanwhile, Ken and Suzie have moved to a new condo that won’t accept cats, so they gave guardianship of their favorite cat to me and Alex. The cat is named Minute, and she’s less than a year old. Her fur is soft and silver-gray all over, except right around her nose where her fur is a shade lighter. It makes her appear illuminated.

Minute was Ken and Suzie’s favorite, partly because Ken helped her into this world. Minute’s favorite toy is the foil from a cigarette pack. She’ll even fetch.

I haven’t seen her do that yet, though, because she spends most of her day hiding. She ventures into sight once darkness falls, though, and has even slept on my bed a couple of times since OJ took off.

OJ was underwhelmed with Minute. I was afraid that Minute would equate me with the mean old cat, but she seems to have gotten over that.

There wasn’t much sleep to be had in the apartment last week, what with OJ’s restlessness and Minute crying for her real Mommy and Daddy. Once OJ left, Minute took joy in hopping onto my bedpillow at 4:00 a.m., then jumping over my head to the other side of the pillow, and repeating until I kicked her out of my room, at which point she’d cry at my door and the process would repeat itself.

I figure it’s all just practice for motherhood.

My vow is intact.

It’s funny, I thought I’d be climbing the walls by now but I’m not. I think the longer one lives without sex, the easier sex becomes to live without .

Of course, it’s only been 3.5 months.

Also, of course, I’m not the one dating me. He’s been a terrific sport about the situation, and I hope that he doesn’t start resenting me for my decision.

It’s not like I’m living the life of a cloistered nun. We’ve been able to keep each other happy without getting naked.

You know, not doing it has actually been fun. I’m convinced it has added depth to our relationship. We’re very intimate, often creatively so.

His kisses make my heart race.

* * *

Life without “doing it” is infinitely less complicated. No worries of pregnancy, no worries about STDs (ironically, MS Word’s spell checker wants me to change that to “studs”), no worries about whether my undies are up to par.

It has also given a new dimension to my athletic training. Most of my sweat has been expelled on the road, rather than between the sheets.

I figure that once I *do* get naked with someone, my body will be so fabulous it will have been well worth waiting to see. 🙂

* * *

I’m not saying I don’t have my moments of weakness. I’m really attracted to him and sometimes I get ahead of myself. But the one time we ended up going a bit further than expected, guilt pangs hit my gut within hours. That night, I had a whopper nightmare that I was pregnant and looking for an abortionist (which is weird, because I personally would never choose abortion unless my own life was in danger, though I support the right of other women to make a different decision).

So, nightmares and guilt pains have been a good deterrent. I’ve also gotten a great deal of strength from the Celibate FAQ, which is a much more entertaining document than it’s name might lead you to believe.

Celibacy. Try it. You might like it!

My worst-ever Fourth of July

Don’t get me wrong. I love Independence day. The weather is always beautiful and the fireworks blow me away.

This year’s (1997) celebration was no exception. Kevin, Katherine and I went to my church’s Pancake Breakfast, then watched 90 minutes of the Redwood City parade (the largest July 4th parade west of the Mississippi, thank you very much). That afternoon, Kevin and I hooked up with his buddy and watched fireworks from Pier 39. There were fireworks that looked like smiley faces! We walked all the way back from Pier 39 to Kevin’s apartment on the other side of Nob Hill.

It was a fabulous day. So fabulous, that it nearly made up for the worst Fourth of July I ever hope to have.

The year was 1988, the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, when I was an exchange student to (then) West Germany.

I’d been in the country for a couple of weeks, long enough for my initial gut-wrenching homesickness to have subsided, and was determined to enjoy this day of American patriotism.

At Gymnasium (high school) after homeroom, we walked to history class. I had not met that teacher yet and anticipated a brief report about the U.S.A.’s butt-kicking founding fathers and mothers.

My enthusiasm waned as the teacher stared at me, grunted “who are you” to me auf Deustch, and instructed me to have a seat toward the front, and spent the next hour and 15 minutes regaling us about the Motherland’s history of strip mining.

If she saw me rolling my eyes, she didn’t let it interrupt her repetitive guttural drone.

The only break was when a note got passed to me. It was from Martina, my overly-enthusiastic and as a result annoying-as-hell German classmate. She wrote to ask if I’d like to attend the high school’s production of “Unsere kleine Stadt.”

Sure, what the heck.


I met Martina that evening and she immediately began telling me about her dream boy, Gustav*. She showed me a dime-store four-photos-for-2DM picture of him, his hair blurred across his face, and told me her starry-eyed German equivalent of “I want to be his personal doormat until the end of time.”

This was not going to be an enjoyable evening.

That fact was reinforced when we entered the theater and I received a program. “Unsere kleine Stadt,” von Thornton Wilder.

“Our Town”! We’re seeing “Our Town” in German tonight.

“Our Town” was one of the few plays I’d neither performed nor seen in my illustrious childrens theater career. To this day, I don’t know the meaning of a single thing I heard that night. Actually, that’s a lie — I didn’t understand anything on the stage. I definitely understood Martina’s every pining word about Herr Gustav Dreamycakes, who incidentally sat five rows in front of us and nearly managed to elude her desperate attempts to get closer to him, except when they met at intermission and he refused to say any more than “hey Fraulein” to her.

I’ve never been more uncomfortable in my life.

Once the show finally ended (what was that thing with all those people sitting mutely in their chairs, anyway?), I pulled a Gustav and begged off spending the rest of the evening with Martina, escaping her bovine lovesick gaze.

Once I finally arrived at the home of my host family, I dropped my things in my room and went into the family room, where my host mother greeted me with, “Oh, the Americans blew up an Iranian airbus and now there might be a war.”

“Goodnight, I’m going to bed.”

*Name changed to protect him if he ever finds this page