Sunday, July 04, 2004

Chapter Five - The Chatroom

More than a hundred channels about theater came up in Danny's first search. She scrolled through them and chose a few to check out. The first only had two chatters, neither of whom seemed to be interested in chatting about theater. The next was filled with people looking for love more than for theater and she was peppered with a/s/l as soon as she entered the room. The third was the charm. Twelve others were deeply debating the Tony nominations and, although welcoming her into the channel, quickly resumed their discussion.

Danny was happy just watching the others and reading what they had to say. Every once in awhile she would check out the profiles of those who had made some interesting comments. They all were between 30 and 60 years old. At 34 she was one of the youngest chat participants, and even though she was a theater fan, her knowledge was about average for the group. This was going to be fun!

She typed that she would be right back, and went to make another cup of coffee. When she returned one of the chatroom members, "TheaterNut" instant messaged her. He explained that when you want to tell others you'll be right back, you just type "BRB." This was a shorthand used in both chat and instant messaging. Danny thanked him and he went right back to posting about Avenue Q on Broadway.

Other than Danny and TheaterNut, no one had seen the play yet. Danny enjoyed filling them in on all the Internet-related songs, like "The Internet is for Porn" sung by muppets in this hysterical Sesame Street spoof. Everyone seemed nice and interested in what she had to say. She felt accepted and decided that this chat group was perfect for her.

Next time, when she got up to change the CD, she typed "BRB" and TheaterNut had immediately instant messaged her, congratulating her on learning the "chatroom lingo." Danny made a mental note to learn more about the chat rules of the road. And she also decided to create her own profile before joining the chat next time. When she signed off, everyone said "good-bye" and asked her to come back again soon.

She remembered Jeff's instructions not to turn off the computer (something about memory or something like that), took what remained of her cup of coffee, one of her law books and climbed into bed. Tonight was fun. She was beginning to understand why Jeff enjoyed chatting online so much. As she hummed one of the songs from Avenue Q, she decided to forego studying tonight, and for the first time in months, was able to roll over and fall sound asleep.

to be continued...