On GChat

21. From my research:

[Redacted]: well, I think a key part of gchat is that it is recording everythingggg
and you can search later and find it
which is a bummer if you are searching for something and see old chats with an ex
which is something GChat causes all the time
Me: why not delete the chats, if they bum you out?
[Redacted]: nooo, never delete
it seems un-Gmail-like
you have so much space, you never have to delete anything
in some ways, it’s nice having those things come back to haunt you
if it really does bug you, I guess you can delete it
but like, sometimes seeing someone’s name makes you think…THERE’S STILL A CHANCE
Me: Would you throw away love letters, or keep them? if you just stumbled upon them, like when you’re looking for something in your Gmail?
[Redacted]: I don’t know, i don’t have those
have you heard of this thing, the Internet?
that’s what people use now

22. Also from my research:

[Redacted]: well, my main theory about GChat is that it forces people who are dating to constantly be GChatting each other
because if you are not GChatting your gf/bf someone else is and is trying to get with them

23. From my GChat records: a male acquaintance’s response to my announcement that I was now on an involuntary break from a long-term relationship, the conditions of which included a GChat moratorium:

[Redacted]: I mean, you were out of his league.
Me: thanks!
[Redacted]: though women are always doing strange things
Me: I think they call it “hysteria”
[Redacted]: gchat is strange.
you must be sad

24. From my research:

[Redacted]: “GChat logs have replaced my memory.”

25. On my birthday, and New Year’s, and other times like that, I usually pull up my Gchats from the years prior and read them all the way through. Every year, there is more to read.

26. Last winter, someone wrote on their blog, “If you are in the mood to read your Gchat logs, you should be doing something else instead.” I thought, “Well, maybe he’s just the sort of person who doesn’t believe in dwelling on the past.”

27. Combined number of results returned by searching my GChat records for the terms “Anna Nicole Smith,” “Lindsay Lohan,” “Olsen Twins,” “Britney Spears,” “Lady Gaga,” and — because why not? — “Nic Cage,” and “Nicolas Cage”: 92

28. Number of results returned by searching my GChat records for the term “Obama”: 180

29. There’s an animated GChat emoticon a contact of mine and I use as a kind of “aloha” in our chats, especially if it’s true that “aloha” can be used to mean pretty much anything. To make the emoticon, one brackets an “at” (@) symbol in tildes (~). When you press return, the characters sort of implode; from their little pixil-ashes rises what is either a beehive with bees flying away from it, or a pile of shit with flies flying around it. I’d say I interpret it as the latter about 70% of the time. I don’t think of it as a Rorschach test.

30. People who select “busy” as their GChat status, which turns the circle next to their name red, are not usually busy. When you type something to a “busy” contact, the program warns: “[Contact] is busy. You may be interrupting.” “May,” indeed. If they were busy, they’d be invisible.

31. If a contact is truly busy, they will make something like “actually busy” their status message.

32. Non sequiturs make the funniest, and therefore the best, status messages. Single lines pulled from the middles of Styles pieces and presented without links or identifying details make good ones, as do single lines from GChats.

33. If you want your contacts to know what sort of mood you are in, then your status message should be a link to a music video that captures the emotions you are experiencing.

34. A contact of mine is currently working on a project for which is he twelve days over deadline. He has been invisible for twelve days — not signed out, just invisible.

35. What I really wanted to do was come up with a word for people who are always invisible on GChat not because they are hiding from something, but just as a rule. I had hoped that it would be a pun. Unfortunately, nothing has materialized.

36. There is a term for people who use the application that allows you to appear idle when you’re not. It’s “false idlers.”

37. Seven hundred-eighty seven (around eleven percent) of my GChats contain the word “literally.” The number of instances in which literally was the word literally meant will remain unknown, because I just don’t have that kind of energy.

38. Number of results produced by searching my GChat records for the phrase “I need an intern”: 7; number of times this was typed, by me, while an intern: 4.

39. GChat tells you when a contact is typing and when they have entered text. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you what they wrote if they don’t actually send it. If Google ever stars offering some kind of paid premium membership, they should include this feature.

40. Number of GChats I have had with the person whom I refer to, in my particularly unbearable moments, as “my mentor”: one.

41. From my GChat records, on the occasion of having sent a Fax:

[Redacted]: when i was in highschool
in a science class
we were talking about the impossibility of teleportation, for some reason.
And a girl asked “then how do fax machines work?”
it’s my main thought associated with faxes and faxing
Me: i think of gchat as telepathy
[Redacted]: That’s also less than accurate

42. There’s no Wikipedia entry for “GChat.” If you type “GChat” into Wikipedia’s search field, it redirects you to the umbrella entry “Google Talk,” or “GTalk,” which is a word I have never heard anyone use, online or otherwise. Wikipedia says: “Google talk is a no-charge Windows web-based application for instant messaging and voice over internet protocol client offered by Google Inc.” I wonder if I should fix it?

43. Combined number of results returned by searching my GChat records for the terms “wrong choice,” “bad choice,” “worst choice,” “my mistake,” “bad mistake,” “big mistake,” “biggest mistake,” “huge mistake,” “hugest mistake,” “horrible mistake,” “terrible mistake,” “worst mistake,” “did the wrong thing,” and “lost this round”: 151

44. Combined number of results returned by searching my GChat records for the terms “right choice,” “good choice,” “great choice,” “best choice,” “correct choice,” “right decision,” “good decision,” “great decision,” “best decision,” “correct decision,” “awesome choice,” “awesome decision,” “did the right thing,” and “won this round”: 55

45. If I get a kitten, I might name it GCat. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

A version of this was originally read at the Refresh Refresh Refresh reading series with the title “On GChat”. / Image via.

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