It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about that title. For a couple of years, it was my life.
Back in 2002, not long after Jennifer passed away, I discovered Yahoo! Chat and it quickly became an addiction. 30’s Love Room 8 was a chat room dedicated to people in their 30’s that were lookin’ for love or friendship. Some just came in to pass the time. I was there because I had to be.
After a couple of months, I was a regular and all the other regulars knew my username. As soon as I entered the room the screen would scroll by with greeting after greeting, and I always made sure I said hello to every one of them. I was popular in 30’s Love Room 8, it seemed to me at the time that everybody liked me and even missed me when I wasn’t in there.
It wasn’t long before I knew who was there to cause trouble, who was there to (cyber) cheat on their spouse, even the couples that came in. The “core group” in 30’s Love Room 8 knew each other’s real names and what state we lived in. On occasion, we even had addresses for one another to mail cards and such. Outside of this group we were just another username.
After a few months, I began to notice a structure to the room, kind of like a small, internal ruling class. You had your very popular members, the ones that everybody wanted to be friends with, you had your normal regular members that made up the bulk of the room, and of course, you had your trouble makers.
It was just like an online soap opera and I was sucked in and right in the thick of it. Over time I became one of the very popular members, rising in “room status” to eventually become the “third in line to the throne” if you will, and that’s when things got interesting.
There was the King – Just Me (His username)
The Queen – Sexy Green Eyes
The Prince – Me
For a long time, we guarded our chat kingdom zealously. Just and I had pirate programs made especially for Yahoo! Chat, programs that let us boot people from the room, ban people permanently, lock the mic in the room so no one else could talk, user bombs that let us target individual or multiple users and flood their chat window until it crashed. There were more but I can’t remember all of them.
We also had programs that protected us from the very ones we used against others. We were basically untouchable and we had complete control of the room. We didn’t use these programs unless we had to, like, if someone came in and started causin’ trouble or raggin’ on a regular member. If any regular member sent us a private message complainin’ about someone, we would drag that person into a special private chat and gave them instructions on how to behave while in “our” room. If they ignored us the were booted from the room, if they came back, they were banned from the room. If they created a whole new account with a totally different username, we had a program that recorded banned IP’s and we knew who they were. That’s when we would crash their chat.
On the rare occasion, it would get so bad that we would send a program to their chat that would not only crash their chat, it would get so bad that their whole computer would freeze and the person would have to do a hard reboot just to get the computer to work again.
It wasn’t long before other chat rooms heard about 30’s Love Room 8. Every now and again someone new would come in the room and usually, the first thing they did was to send one of us a private chat, ensuring us they were not there to cause any trouble.
It was amazing and I loved it. Then, like most kingdoms, it began to fall apart. There were accusations thrown around, fights, arguments, distrust galore. Our happy little 30’s Love Room 8 quickly became a war zone. As for myself, I was far too proud to admit defeat. I found an IP Mask program and implemented it and would go in the room under a different name. I also had a “ghost” program where I could go invisible and no one would ever know I was there.
In short, it was childish and ridiculous. After I finally admitted defeat, I moved on to other rooms, but none were ever quite like Room 8. Never again did I aspire to be anything other than an occasional visitor. I was never again well known in any room and as time passed and I got older I would occasionally visit rooms that were appropriate to my age bracket.
It’s been years now since I’ve been in Yahoo! Chat and I’m not exactly sure what made me think of it now. I wonder what ever happened with Just Me and Sexy Green Eyes and the others that, for a time, were close (online) friends.