There’s danger in making online friends. I'm not focusing on the serial killer who pretends to be a priest, or the scammer, I'm talking about running into someone you actually know.
Some who, like you, use a nickname and some photo so that your identity, their identity is hidden.
It is possible that you could fall in love with that person; at least the person you've met in cyberspace.
And that person might love you.
At least love what you have shared, sans age and all the other ‘reality’ baggage.
I am not talking about dating sites or Facebook where the point is to meet people you can fall in love with. I am talking about participating in an online forum about something, whether politics, or music or in my case, sci-fi.
A Message Board of many threads, lots of ideas, lots of arguments.
I had used the nickname 'Andromeda' because I’d enjoyed the first three seasons.
He used the nickname 'Worf' as that was his favourite Trek character.
We often agreed on esoteric points, and over time started to PM when Trolls and other insane types posted.
We had deep conversations about the duties of a moderator and what did and did not constitute valid posts.
We belonged to other M.B.s and shared them, so he popped up on Exisles and I joined Everything Trek, and we’d double team anyone who got too insulting.
In Real Life I had one of those jobs.
Let me be more specific, I worked for a Boss from Hell who made the job as close to torture as possible.
In the morning I'd arrive and he'd be confined to his office. I’d get on the 'Net to put me into a decent frame of mind while bringing up a document I’d drafted the day before.
I'd be happily posting on sites, answering email, playing games, and at some point the BFH would appear. He seemed to need to sit beside me and go over the document I'd drafted, word by word, making changes.
He had a repulsive odor and his breath smelled like a pit toilet.
After I experienced the nasal torture and he had done his word by word crawl of the documents, he’d tell me to 'print’.
Some days Boss’d be too busy to get back to me. I’d stay on the 'Net talking to Worf then go home to my husband and kids and Jerry.
Jerry was my husband’s nephew. He’d come to stay with us when his folks were going through an ugly divorce and never left. We never wanted him to leave.
Jerry was a junior in college now, and though we told him his folks had created a fund which paid for his education, it was Dave and I who did.
Which is why I had to keep working for the most annoying Boss on Earth.
If it wasn't for the Internet, for my friendship with Worf, I couldn't have lasted three days in that office.
Over the months, Worf became my best friend; that is, the best friend of Andromeda who was ten years younger than I and unmarried.
I never mix real life with cyberspace. I always invent an avatar replete with her own email address. I never use my own photograph or anything to connect that avatar to this woman who is sitting at this computer waiting for Annoying Boss to crawl out of his office.
As far as Worf knew I lived in ‘the country' and had twenty dogs and spent my days writing articles for online publications. What I knew of Worf was that he lived in the ‘city' and did research for some major corporation.
Hence both of us had cogent reasons why we were online during the working day.
We began to share bits of ourselves which happened outside of the MB; I was always careful to ‘rephrase’.
If I had an argument with my husband and was proven right, I would turn that into an argument with a neighbour. If one of my kids did something particularly stupid which was funny I would cast that into a niece or nephew.
One day Worf posted that he had a great story to tell me. I was avid and he said I should get ready.
He then began is post, focusing on how his nephew, to prove that ‘student government’ was joke, ran on the Bozo ticket and was elected.
I physically jerked from the monitor.
My son had done that.
My son had dressed up as Bozo and ran on the Bozo ticket and was elected.
I typed lol then brb and went to the ladies room.
Worf was Jerry
For months I had been deep in a cyber relationship with a person who was almost a son to me.
I went over our past conversations feeling almost guilty of incest.
I had shared opinions, ideas, futuristic fantasies, not the boring bits of work/ cooking/ shopping.
He had created worlds and possibilities I dreamed of.
The only thing that made my job survivable was knowing that when I logged on to the Internet, Worf would be there with jokes and cheer.
I went to work each day knowing that during the hideous eight hours I had chances to escape the office with Worf.
Knowing the true identity of Worf could not change Andromeda. I must go on as I had yesterday, last week, so I could survive this horrible job.
I hope I can....