Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Internet Use: A Brief History

I was fired from my position as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld on October 29, 1991.  I have remained unemployed since my job termination, nearly twenty years ago.

After I was fired, I started to make daily visits to a branch of the D.C. library system, The Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library.

In about 1999 the library installed Internet access.  I was not interested in using the computer at first.  I had never used the Internet before and I'm slow to change my routine.

In about the year 2000 I learned about an offer by a telephone company.  The company offered a $200 bonus if a customer signed up for service.  One needed an email address to apply for service.  It was that commercial offer that prompted me to start using the public access computer at the library.  My initial motivation in using the computer was to obtain an email address so I could collect my $200 bonus.

The neighborhood public library is closed on Sundays.  I sometimes used to walk to The American University on Sundays to use the computers at the University library.

In the year 1993 I started work on my book Significant Moments.  Beginning in the year 2000 I began doing research for the book on the computer, both at the Cleveland Park public library and at American University.

I used to think about buying my own computer, but I never got around to that.

On Friday January 15, 2010 I was interviewed at my residence by two officers from the Justice Department about a law enforcement matter.  After the interview, I showed the officers the walk-in closet in my apartment.  They didn't seem particularly interested in my guided tour.  One would have thought they would be interested in searching the closet -- they weren't -- and that is the subject of another blog post.

In any event, I keep an old word processor in my walk-in closet, which I use as a kind of office or writing shed.  One of the officers said with mock seriousness: "You mean you don't have your own computer?"  (As if he didn't already know I didn't have my own computer!)  The officer's words lingered in my mind.

In about February 2010 I received a $500 bonus from my housing subsidy.  I thought, "Yes, why don't I have my own computer?  I'll use the bonus to buy a computer."  Shortly thereafter, I ordered a computer over the Internet and contacted Comcast about Internet service.  I remember that the Comcast service guy arrived at my apartment very late on a Friday afternoon in February 2010, at the beginning of one of the big snowstorms we had at that time.  I remember that I spent the entire weekend snowed-in, gleefully surfing the Internet on my new computer.

I still use the computer at the public library.  In fact, I look forward to using the public access computers.  I get a lot of pleasure using the computer at the public library.  My emotional investment in using the computer at the library aroused my curiosity since I now have my own computer.  Why would I derive so much pleasure from using the computer at the library?

Only yesterday, I thought of an interpretation of my behavior.  It's my tentative theory that my use of the computer is highly sexualized.  For me, using the computer is like having sex.  I happen to be an exhibitionist.  Perhaps my apparent need to use the computer in a public place is symbolic of masturbating in public.  Perhaps that also helps explain my slowness to buy my own computer.  I would rather "masturbate" in public than at home.  That interpretation makes sense to me.  But I'm a Freudian.  For me everything is about sex.

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