…does anyone actually remember Xanga?


I started streamlining my online presence yesterday, spurred on by articles about prospective employers and such not hiring/thinking favorably of people based on a picture on their Facebook or a post in their blog or, like, a meme they filled out on LiveJournal when they were fifteen.  So I hacked my way through the overgrown ruins of Friendster and Xanga and MySpace, removing late-teens/early-twenties Heather from the Internet’s malleable memory with furious, decisive keystrokes.

It was interesting to revisit those frozen glimpses of myself.  Heather at eighteen, posting dozens of stupid internet quizes, and overstating everything because she thought bigger words meant better writing.  Heather at twenty, tearing through screennames and discovering the inexplicable hilarity of all-caps.  Heather at twenty-two, taking pictures of her friends around the FloraMist and making video montages of grand adventures.  A hundred years ago we had posed portraits.  Now we’ve got profile pages.

(The only thing I really, really liked from all my pre-2009 online profiles was my tagline on MySpace:  “Better than most cases of cholera.”  It is a standard to which I still proudly hold myself.)

I took a slew of  screen-caps during my delete-a-thon; everything personal of note from the sites.  Comments, pictures, messages.  I am an informational packrat.  Back when I actually used AIM, I saved every single online conversation I ever had.  I still have them, filed away in the depths of my “Documents” folder.  I just…I forget everything.  Really, I do.  So it’s nice to have reminders.  Who I was way back when; who my friends were.  It’s good to remember.  (Sometimes it’s actually awful to remember.  Dear 17-Year-Old Heather on AIM: You sure are a pompous ass, and should probably shut up!)

LiveJournal will be the next place to get a bit of a nip/tuck from me, I think.  I’ve got all my dealings over there down to one account, so the rest is so much fat to be trimmed.  Right now is about simplification.  Less of myself to have to keep track of.  It’s also, as I mentioned before, about finessing my Internet image.  Who do I want people to see?  Who should people see?  Though to be honest, there’s not really anything out there right now that needs hiding.  It’s not like I’m going to parties and taking drunken, slutty pictures or posting offensive statuses in some kind of nigh-impenetrable pidgin English.  The worst you’ll get is a snapshot of me gorging myself on Singing Pig Garlic Mustard at a performance of Shakespeare in the Park or something.

(There are my swears, though.  I do so love the occasional swear, especially when writing.  The problem is, I adore language, and that means all facets of language, including curse words.  They’re fun and percusive and as long as you aren’t relying on them because you don’t have the facilities to use, y’know, other words, then they tickle me pink.  I’m also of the mind that intent is  more important than content.  I mean, if you tell me that something is fucking awesome, it’s going to offend me way less than if you tell me that you in all honesty wish I would drink a quart of Drain-O and die a fitful, convulsive death.  You know what I mean?  I’m not going to go tearing through a convent cursing a blue streak, but I do think many casual conversations can be favorably affected by the addition of a good, solid “motherfucker”.)

Anyway.  Life-things are still on the “terrible” side of the scale.  My cough turned out to be bronchitis, and though it’s finally gone now (I think?), it sure did screw me up on a bunch of different fronts.  I am now trying to un-dig a few very deep holes, if that’s a possible thing.

Mockingbird is going well.  It’s gotten great reviews across the board, and I am proud of my kids, even if sometimes I want to smack a couple of them.  (Most of the time I do not want to smack them, I promise.  My instinct to hug outweighs my instinct to smack roughly 100 to 1.  They are lovely kids.)  The set for the show is so…I don’t know.  Enveloping, I guess.  You look at that stage and you are absolutely in a homey little neighborhood in 1930s Alabama.  It’s warm and gracious.  I’m waiting for a day when I have some extra time and no kids around, and can clamber around the stage with Mom’s camera.

What else?  On Sunday the kids and one of the dressers and I went out to a Chinese restaurant between shows.  The kids wanted gelato after, so we went across the street to a little gelato shop, only to find it closed.  But the owner was puttering around inside, and when he saw us he started gesticulating madly, and mouthing something we couldn’t understand.  We finally figured out that he was telling us that he could serve us if we took it to go, so we all nodded and he scampered around the counter to let us in, where he then spent the next ten minutes gleefully letting the kids sample about a million different flavors, counting out everyone’s change loudly and exuberantly, and basically being the greatest old Italian guy ever.  I can’t wait to go back.


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