Friday, April 29, 2005

Not that I obsess on things ...

Ok, yah I do. 

It is a useful quality when I am trying to figure out why a particular piece of equipment won't do what it is supposed to be doing, or why it is doing something that it is not supposed to do.  It turned out to be useful regarding banishing the sickening knots in my stomach feeling that accompanied the realization that entire journals have been deleted, never to be retrieved, on the say so of one [count em ONE]  "notify AOL" complaint.  I knew that it happened to threads on message boards, but deleting "did not", "did too", "did not", "did to" really isn't that much of a loss. But a Journal,

the thoughts and words of a living breathing human being, offered up and placed in your care, just GONE, zap! Deleted.  Destroyed.

Because someone complained.  (and worse there was no rational basis for the complaint.)

That realization bothered me more deeply than I let on. I felt violated and assaulted and it wasn't even my journal that was affected. 

Then I realized why.

I grew up with an alcoholic mother. I loved her deeply and I honor her memory still, but there was a period of years when things were bad.  Very very bad.  Mom suffered from occasional alcoholic rages.  While infrequent, they were (as alcoholic rages tend to be) completely irrational, viscious and aimed at one person.  Usually that person was me.  In those instances, I would find myself the target of her wrath for no reason that I could discern.  I am not saying that I was a perfect teenager, far from it but wow, that woman could yell when she was on a tear.  Usually too, she would choose a very public setting for her outbursts. I would find myself humiliated with no warning or recourse, in front of an audience, for an imaginary transgression with no opportunity for explanation or defense, done.

All that was many years ago, and I have resolved the inequity of that situation, but the memory remains.  The memory of groundless public humiliation abides beyond apologies, beyond years, despite reparations.  It haunts. 

I know that apologies to Armand have been made.  I know that a commitment has been made to all journalers that the entirety of their work will no longer be summarily deleted based upon a single (possibly completely unfounded) complaint.   Excellent!  Step one and two have been made in the corporate journey wherein the corporation stops acting like an alcoholic on a rant and realizes that journalers are just as human (and their feelings as important) as the complainers. 

Thanks for the trip down memory lane AOL. 

Ok, now I really am done -- I mean it. (ok maybe not -- we will see)


cneinhorn said...

whew, that was some trip!  


shadp said...

Your mother's behaviour towards you must have filled you with such rage over the years - rage at the sheer injustice of it all, let alone everything else. Probably made you grow up quicker too. Interesting the way the deleted journal thing hooked up with all those old feelings. Great entry!


jevanslink said...

Hope your mom was able to appreciate what a wonderful and talented writer her daughter is. If she didn't, I sure do.  And sharing your story about having an alcoholic mom helped me tap into my own white hot heat over AOL's fascist behavior.  But we'll save my Dad Stories for another day.  Mrs. L