Hi, I am Mike, and I am addicted to instant messaging

The creak of an un-oiled door. The ring of an incoming message. The inevitable noise of a door slamming shut. The sounds haunt me in my sleep. They divert my attention and eventually devour my precious time. The AOL Instant Messaging system, commonly known as AIM, is truly an unnecessary burden in life that I still cannot live without.

No aspect of my world demands more devotion and, sadly, outright allegiance than the ritual that is chatting over the Internet. I know I am not the only one afflicted by this hindrance to homework and reality. I can hear the obnoxiously loud sounds of AIM that are the staple of a socially competent student’s computer blaring out of dorm room windows across the University of San Diego campus.

There is nothing that makes me more aware of the world we live in today than walking through the hallowed Maher courtyard, contemplating the meaning of life, and suddenly hearing “SexyPrincess104” enter her friend’s Buddy List. I have come to accept that this phenomenon is still not understood by most parents throughout the nation, but it truly has transformed social interaction as we know it. It took me no less than a year to fully comprehend the internet lingo, the “lol”s, “brb”s, and “gtg”s of the messaging dictionary, yet I still find myself refraining from using these corny phrases in everyday conversation.

I cannot avoid the far-reaching grasp of the messaging monster. Homework that should take one hour to complete now remains unfinished in my notebook for three hours at a time. Why am I losing a full night’s sleep writing this article when I could have been finished before midnight?

I now find complete pleasure in discussing unimportant relationships, television shows, and fantasy football scores with equally bored companions living across the country. The main problem with this whole situation is that I think it is completely normal. Does it ever end? I catch myself holding online chats with roommates across the hall. Read that last sentence again. Across the hall! Ten yards away! This behavior clearly needs to stop. And soon.

However, it is quite clear that instant messaging has truly refined the art of discussion, as meaningless as the topics may be. Our wise elders will say that we are more socially inept than the previous generation due to technology. But I, for one, have never witnessed my parents interacting with 30 of their closest companions at the same time. Nor do I believe that my grandparents could list off 100 or more of their peers, let alone the catchy screen names that apply to each one.

Maybe I live a pathetic existence. Maybe others are in the same sorry boat of chatting that is slowly sinking the ship of good grades. But I do know this: I will gladly continue “haha”ing and “omg”ing if it means avoiding homework for just one more hour of meaningless conversation.

Mike Minicilli, The Vista, University San Diego