ou know the sounds well.
The click of the modem as it opens the outside line.
I'm in! Boy, was I in.
I received my first modem when I was eight or nine. I've forgotten exactly when. In less than six months, I was a regular pro at it. I would call a local BBS and peruse their contact lists for other BBSs in the area to call. I would comb their file directories for new programs to download and play with. I would play online games, trying to climb the ranks of geekdom by conquering the most territory or raking in the most cash. After I had felt comfortable enough, I started checking out the bulletin boards to interact with my fellow geeks.
I was one of a handful of females using modems at the time. It didn't take long before I became one of the designated females on BBSs. No one was convinced that I was nine: everyone thought I was using my age as an excuse to avoid getting hit on.
And I got hit on.
This was my teacher. This black box that sat on my desk that I poured hours of my free time into. It taught me all the naughty words that little girls aren't supposed to say. It spoke to me of those hidden places -- of the pleasure and pain that they can bring. I was forced to be female. I was like Hester Prynne. I could have masked myself in a male name and male identity, but that wouldn't be me. Anyway, I'm bad at impersonations.
In a world where I only wanted to be one of the guys, I became the epitome of femininity.