Banal Reminiscence / Heartfelt Remembrance

(or the strangeness of melancholic longing for an antiquated version of the AOL client software.)

[Macintosh window with the AOL 2.7 icon and supporting folders]


I met my wife on AOL. And I have been known to get nostalgic about AOL before. Just check out this scrapbook cover page for evidence.

Thing is – it’s just software – and in retrospect, not very good software. The AOL client has improved a great deal since then. But it’s not the best out there. For browsing I like Netscape’s Communicator and for email anything but AOL – Outlook Express for Mac and Eudora Light are better.

[Macintosh America Online Client Software sign on screen]

But I can’t help remembering getting those emails from her. Chatting to all hours of the night and all day.

I don’t have romantic walks on the Seine or trips to some Lovers’ Lookout makeout spot – but I have those chats and talks. It is a strange age we live in. Though not without precedent I suppose. Letter writing was once a great art so we’re told. Personal prose would spill from pens, sealed with a kiss and sent on their way to a distant lover.

I will admit that it’s unusual to get wispy for software. I miss AOL 2.7.

Frank Zappa said that the world would end in nostalgia:

…I’ve also talked about the End of the World being a question of whether it’s going to be by fire, ice, paperwork, or
nostalgia. And there’s a good chance that it’s going to be nostalgia because the distance between the event and the
nostalgia for the even has gotten shorter and shorter and shorter with each nostalgia cycle. So, projecting into the
future, you could get to a point where you would take a step and be so nostalgic for that point where you would take a step and be so nostalgic for that step you just took that you would literally freeze in your tracks to experience the nostalgize of the last step, or the last word, or your last whatever. The world just comes to a halt – remembering.

… and hopefully my thoughts on AOL 2.7 won’t contribute to that final stillness.

Joe Crawford
12 January 2000: 1:19 a.m. Pacific Standard Time

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