September 21st, 2011
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Courtesy of Good Magazine

You’re online and you decide you want to chat.  It’s a normal, casual thing that lots of people regularly do.  It saves time and money and you don’t think too much about what you’re saying to the other person except that you keep it brief.

 Blah, blah, blah…..blah, blah, blah.
Yet is online chatting really as casual as you think?

It’s popular now for people to save their chat records just as they save copies of their email correspondence or a voice message left on an answering machine. This is a new concept for me because I have no idea how you would save an online chat.  When I think of chat records or transcripts I think of the police in Law & Order sitting around and reading out loud the chats of people involved in criminal behavior.  Or people using chat records as evidence in a trial.  Other than those instances, a chat record is a unique animal to me.  Once I’m done typing and chatting, the chat is over.  I’m done and it’s out of my head.

But now you can add chat records to the list of momentoes people hold near and dear.

In the Fall 2011 issue of Good magazine, author Rebecca Armendariz discusses and publishes portions of the online chats she had with her boyfriend, Clark, as he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, his surgeries, his chemotherapy and his weeks of hospice care.  Their insightful chats reflect two people moving through the different stages of physically and emotionally fighting cancer and their determination to keep their daily lives as normal as possible.

Even today, she says, many years after his death, she will type his email address into her computer’s search box just to see what will appear.

“The ease of our everyday interactions is what kills me,” Armendariz writes.  “The way we spoke to each other about what I’d bring home for dinner or whether it was a PBR or a Grolsch kind of night.”

I would imagine that going back and reading a chat transcript that you had with a loved one could have the same effect as a song, transporting you to that moment in time when the chat took place and reminding you how you felt about the person on that day; a snapshot of the words and phrases you would use with each other.
Here is the link to Rebecca Armendariz’s beautifully written story in the Fall 2011 issue of Good Magazine:

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