In which this contributor essentially talks to himself, not unlike this herein.
Grant me the second person, and you will be fine. If you reply to a chat for which you were not present, Gmail considers both – the uninitiated solicitation, and the latent response – as formal emails, the latter residing in your “sent” box. When the chat finally commences, it is archived in your “chats” folder. Now, if you are logged into Gmail via multiple browsers — either as separate tab(s) or window(s), which I often do — Gmail will consider the erratic interface as one incident, [re]establishing the sole chat in each open tab or window. Sometimes this causes a glitch in how your entered text is interpreted, and you may find, in your “sent” folder, your side to a long two-way chat collapsed into one gigantic somewhat insane email, in the form of a chat, the inadvertent formalisms of narcissism. The following examples are chats from which the lines of my chat partner have been excised by this Gmail glitch. They still read rather logically, given that I have a tendency to “go off” on my chat partners, reducing them to reticence or exasperation, by just continuously talking, sort of like this opening paragraph, so my chat partners’ contributions tend not to be crucial to the flow of these self-absorbed mono-/dia- logues:
I enjoy the prosaic intimacy of chats, the minutiae of the day’s absurdity. Chatting is like an abridged relationship: we have nothing but the nothingness within us, shared. The art of chatting lies in culling meaning from inconsequential things, giving breadth to and honoring the humble parts of life. Both the syntactical efficiency and philosophical logic of chat is essentially haiku, however ridden with ADHD. A good chat partner will make you feel that you can say anything and not be judged. A good chat partner will read and not type. In short, a good chat partner is simply a good friend, and a good friend is rare. Yes, I still listen to Smashing Pumpkins; yes, my main latent psychological profile is still adolescently “emo”; and yes, I am somewhat of a functional alcoholic binge eater. I won’t disclose who this particular chat partner is, only to say that her sensibilities and inclinations are far more pathological than me, so I am in goodly bad company. We basically talk about depression, how we are good at it; sex, how she is good at it; music, the imperative listening to dated music with irony; and food, how part of us just wants to get fat and die. We never actually talk on the phone, that would be horrible. Some minutes later:
Without being able to click on the screenshoted links, only the truly curious and/or bored of this readership will actually type in “by hand” the disclosed urls. There are implicit rules of the internet, and if you visit the three described urls, you need to get a life. I may still be talking to myself, which is either the downfall of writing, or its inadvertent magic. The owner of the “delicately slim” Tumblr, a 16-year-old girl named Laura from England, may notice an increase in mysterious “direct” hits (i.e. not from incoming links or search yields). She’s, quoted per her “about me,” recovering from anorexia, bulimia, depression, PTSD and more. Tumblr was invented for screwed up chicks; that their servers are also that way may be fitting. My chat partner and I ended up discussing “bing” cherries (I thought about but never mentioned how funny it would be to Bing bing cherries, and how inextricably meta the search results would be) which quickly turned into the anatomical metaphor it is. She rips her wifi so it’s always slow. To stream or not to stream, that is the question — of how near the router is. You may also wish to look up “cat watching slayer,” though, depending on its viralness, you may have already seen it. The internet is so fast, meaning has an expiration date.
I can’t remember how the chat ended, only that we didn’t say goodbye — we just got distracted by other chats or tabs or windows or pop-ups or actual irl stuff and, well, stopped. I just stared at the chat window, like the square face of someone I like to look at. Sometimes I don’t “sleep” my computer, or close the browser, or log-off Gmail, or even close the chat window. I just get up from my computer, faithful that the screen will suddenly turn black when I’m not looking, perhaps while I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth for the night, idly looking at myself in the mirror, or rather past the mirror into the blind wall, scrubbing a mouth that doesn’t really need to talk anymore, for its owner’s fingers do all the work these days. Though sometimes I imagine her in the bathroom with me, or the phantom movements of her limbs in my bedroom, the subtlest concave shape her body makes on my mattress, waiting. Every chat is a seed for something more, but I’m a sap not a sapling, and if a man falls in a forest he tends not to make a sound. I hope she just got distracted or something. I hope many long tiring things. Not saying goodbye is an act of faith, because tomorrow, and the next day, and probably the next, we should have the same conversation again.