Merlin wrote, and other friends have mentioned, how strange it is to see all the ways Leslie is still connected to us. In our address books, on Livejournal, on MySpace, Friendster, Vox. I see her on LinkedIn and think about all the people I met through her, all the people I still meet through her. After she died I got so many emails from people I’d never met, people who wanted to share memories or regrets. Josh remarked to me how strange and new it is to be reminded of her by the way her sites still show up in his referral logs.
When this happens, when I stumble upon some ghost of her online, I pause for a moment to think about her, and then move on. Remembering Leslie becomes part of the process of having a life online. I’m almost starting to get used to the idea, starting to expect it.
What I wasn’t expecting was how sad I got recently, when Joe Utsler friended me on Facebook. I don’t know him very well at all, but I know him through Leslie. We had to put our connection as “You know each other through a friend.” We couldn’t be specific about how we’d met, because Leslie had never joined. As it always is when you lose a dear friend, complete absence is a lot harder to take then the ghost of their presence.
I miss the nice things she used to do for me, my family, our online family, but I also miss fighting with her. No one puts up a good fight anymore.
A small list of things that make me think of Leslie:
- Diet Coke
- “The Bachelor & The Bride” by The Decemberists
- “Two Girls Kissing” by The Swirlies
- Adobe Acrobat
- Paul Ford
- Michael Sippey
- Lance Arthur
- that Bootylicious/Smells Like Teen Spirit mashup
When I think about all the friends I’ve made online over the last 10 years, and what the next 10, 20, or 40 years will be like as they start to die, and we’re linking to their websites, and writing endlessly about our memories of them, and saving favored things that they wrote to our hard drives in case their websites disappear, it’s enough to make me want to delete every website I ever had, every social networking account, every email address. Just close my computer and get rid of my internet connection and be done with it, all of it, forever, starting now. But that wouldn’t make it hurt less, I would just start to miss everyone sooner. And if I’m honest there are still so many people I hope to meet in the future, so many people I know online now who I want to know better.
Leslie, it just sucks that you’re gone. It sucks every day, and it continually sucks in new and frustrating ways. It sucks, it sucks, it sucks.
When it’s summer in the city
And you’re so long gone from the city
I start to miss you, baby, sometimes