Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Angel Standing By

It's funny. When we look back on our lives, some people appear in our consciousnesses as clear as Albert Bierstadt paintings. Some people are fuzzy, like Seurats. Other people, and the dramatic moments we associate them with, appear like Rembrandts.

I want to quickly talk about someone who appears in my memory more like a Seurat -- that is, grainy, not fully clear, but still someone who is there and who made an impression.

Her name was Melissa and she lived on the female side of the dormitory that I lived in during my 2002-2003 year in college. She had long black hair and a nose ring and sort of had a tiny bit of a goth thing going on for herself. I have no idea how we became friends, but we did.

I mention her because I basically remember her for only one thing. And that's where the whole Seurat thing comes into play: she's more just like an impression, but she's there.

Melissa, I remember, had the coolest screen name ever.

Now, you must realize, this was back in the day when people, at least people at my college, communicated principally through a program called AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM, for short. AIM was convenient and practical. We didn't use mobile phones to communicate -- they weren't really around -- we just shot each other messages over a small chat window in the corner of our PC screens.

And Melissa's name was just so killer good. It was "AngelStandingBy" -- and that's "standing by" in the sense of "on call," "ready when needed." I'm sure there had been some arbitrary number at the end of this screen name of hers, but who cares. That was it: AngelStandingBy. Of course, she got the name from a Jewel song -- one of Jewel's best songs, but...

But how killer is that name? And this girl was a really good listener, too, which perhaps adds a little more texture to the story. She really generously lent an ear whenever you needed it.

And there she was, in the dormitory of Fitzgerald Hall in the 2002-2003 school year with that dope screen name: "Angel Standing By."

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