Weren’t we all conditioned to believe that talking to strangers is bad? I know that I have beat this idea into my kids brains over and over again. Anyone that you don’t know is BAD. Period. When Smiley ran away from me in the food court in Ross Park Mall and into the men’s bathroom, I nearly had a coronary. I had to send E-man in there after him (no, not even in an emergency will I walk into a men’s room. The words “urinal cake” just do not sit well with me.) E-man dragged him out by the arm. I got down to his level and grabbed his little face in my hand. “Don’t you EVER run away from me again. You SCARED mommy! A bad person could STEAL you!!!!”
A small crowd had sort of gathered around me and some were giving me dirty looks. Probably because I was squeezing Smiley’s cheeks with my hand. My mother did it to me as a child and I find it to be a very effective way to get kids to listen. Or least look like they are listening…they can’t turn their face away from you to look anywhere else.
I remember when I was a child, probably about eight years old. I was sitting in front of the house where I lived with my mom and grandparents. I was playing with my 30 Barbies and 1 Ken doll. Ken’s pimp hand was strong, even though he wore a silver outfit with pink stars all over it. And I had taken my scissors to his “rockstar” hair.
Anyway, Ken was busy taking turns making out with Rockstar Barbie and Malibu Barbie. Day to Night Barbie was trying to recover from a hangover and the rest of the Barbies were sleeping. I was so involved in my Barbie daytime drama that I did not notice a man come walking up to me, holding a Ninja Turtle VHS tape. “Here little girl!” he said. “I saw you sitting there and I thought you might want this movie.”
No thoughts, just actions. Everything I had ever learned about strangers propelled me forward, screaming, into my gram’s house. She and my mom were sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. “KIDNAPPER!! KIDNAPPER!! KIDNAPPER OUTSIDE!!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. My mom and gram jumped to their feet and I ran upstairs to hide in the guest room. I could hear them talking to the kidnapper. And then I heard them laughing. LAUGHING with my potential kidnapper! Oh, the horror!
My mom came inside and up to my room, holding the Ninja Turtle VHS in her hands. “I think you should come down and say thank you.” My mom was chuckling away. She wanted me to not only accept a gift from a stranger, but to say THANK YOU for it? Did he get to my mom’s brain already? Was she suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? I shook my head no. I would NOT go downstairs. “That man,” my mom said, really laughing now, “is the next door neighbor’s son. He lives there. Did you not recognize him or something?” Well apparently not, mom! I was way too embarassed to come downstairs, so my mom left me alone. Later on she and my gram told me I did the right thing. I did do the right thing! I hope that my kids will do the same if a stranger tries to give them a gift.
Anyway, I was looking at my new favorite website, damnyouautocorrect.com. It’s an entire website dedicated to hilarious iphone auto correct fails. I saw one that was of a chat box called Omegle. Omegle is a service that let’s complete strangers chat with each other in a varity of ways.
I thought to myself ‘why the hell would anyone want to talk to a complete stranger?’ Am I that bored? I looked it up on google and found that it was launched in 2009 by an 18 year old kid and quickly grew to popularity within weeks. Am I out of touch? Is it really that popular?
I decided that I was just going to give it a shot. My curiosity got the best of me. You can chat via text or video. I opted for text. It connected me with a complete stranger as promised. Stranger asked my a/s/l. I told them 29/f/usa. Not sure if it was my age or location that pissed them off, but they immediatly disconnected. I tried again. Stranger asked me the same question. I answered. Stranger told me he was 17 year old male in Holland. No thank you. I disconnected from him. The next stranger just said one thing…stop trolling. I turned it off and decided to try again later.
When I logged back on, I got 20 year old male in Japan. Wasn’t sure what to say to him. I didn’t think, “So, how bout that tsunami?” was a very appropriate way to start a conversation. So I just asked him if he was in college. He said yes and told me he wanted to find a way to stop bombs from going off. I wanted to tell him he should ask the cast of Jersey Shore, but that didn’t seem appropriate either. He asked me if I was married and if I had kids. He then asked me if I had waited until I was married to have sex. I instantly regretted not asking him my inappropriate questions. Disconnect. New stranger. I then got Jim, age 29 from London.
Jim is from London, is 5’9 and part Spanish. He didn’t call me an idiot when I asked him what time it was there. We had a lovely conversation. He asked me if I went on Omegle often. I said this was my first experience and asked the same of him. He said he goes on out of boredem…he hates to be alone. I told him that I was going to blog about this and he said that I should.
When I told Hot Papa about my Omegle experience he said, “You have been talking to complete strangers behind my back? You’re weird.” I wanted to protest but the fact of the matter is…I am weird. And I have an odd addiction to Google. I’m sure a lot of you can relate. If I hear about something new, I have to Google it.
I guess in a way, it’s kind of sad. We are taught that it is wrong to talk to strangers in real life, but it’s totally fine on the interwebs. A lot of people have chosen their online life to their real lives. Imagine a day without internet, smart phone, hi def cable tv, netflix, kindle, texting, typing, gaming…you get my drift. Could you do it? I don’t know if I could. But I think I could probably refrain from talking to strangers. I feel like my social life may have gone to a dark place if I depended on web generated strangers to occupy my time. The life of a stay at home mama can be boring…that is just a fact of life. But in the future when I am bored, I will probably stick to my normal go to routine which is to call my friends. My real life friends. No offense Jim from London.
Love from this stranger,
P.S. Turn of TV week starts on April 18th…I’m gonna give it a shot. Thank God it’s not on during Steeler season.