Thursday, May 27, 2004

Careless Memories

**WRITTEN IN MAY 1999**

Yaaawn. Wet Monday morning in my Paranaque office. I drag my carcass in front of the PC and groggily grope for my mouse under a mountain of papers. I rouse up my US Robotics 28.8 Sportster modem, a tired old gizmo which has seen better days. Mercifully,it sputters to life.

As the caffeine in my third cup of Nescafe finally kicks in, I brace myself for the usual torrent of spams. No surprises here. Just the usual "FREE Membership with LadyDominatrixxx.com -- for just $35!" and a million other pieces of electronic junk.

Suddenly, I see an item that should have drowned in that cesspool of spams were it not for the very familiar name on the heading.

It's Benjie!

He's inviting me to join a service called the eGroups or something.
Duh, okay. Anything's better than reading mail from somebody named Naughty Nanette who says she gets all hot and ready very easily (in factl, as easily as you could type in your credit card number.)

So I click the hyperlink to the website and blindly follow the
instructions. After several fumbling attempts (in the process of which I manage to crash a server in Tegucigalpa), I finally, ehem, create an egroups account!

Thrilled at the thought of getting in touch with long-lost highschool
chums, I enter the members' section and promptly see a grand total of two members --Benjie and myself. Ha! Ha! You got me there, Benjie Boy.

But plant the seed Benjie did. In a month, the eGroups would grow so much bigger. So one June afternooon, my inbox, already bursting at the seams with mail from Naughty Nanette and the eGroups members, yields another pleasant surprise -- a letter from Eric proclaiming that our batch already has --dyaraan-- websites! Not just one, thank you very much, but two! The one in US managed by Eric & the one in Singapore run by Kai. And with
Eric buying a domain name out of a deep commitment to the batch with money coming from an even deeper pocket (I am not sure about that FRANK! -inserted by Eric), the batch site will be 100% independent, subservient to no one. Mwahahaha!

Faster than anyone could say ''bamboo organ'', everybody was furiously exchanging letters and posting embarrassing photos ;-) of themselves and their batchmates.

All of a sudden, I find myself making chika with Lorna in California,
getting Palm Pilot advice from Eric also in California, having on-line
confessions with Fr. Earl in China, and recalling highschool capers with Benjie in Pamplona. All of a sudden, I find myself writing an on-line column for any batchmate who cares to read it. All of a sudden, I find myself hunkered down before my trusty old Palm in clients' waiting rooms, restaurants, supermarket checkout counters scribbling furiously in hopes of meeting the deadline set by Eric-the-Webmaster- of-the-Universe.

All of a sudden, I feel so connected with my batchmates as the distance and culture that used to separate us get vanquished by the eGroups and the websites!

All of a sudden, I finish my very first Careless Memories column!