A good number of years ago, before blogs were all the rage and the www was relatively young, I used to visit chat rooms. Nothing that different from this, really, except they operated in real time. They've hardly disappeared and are still very popular, although I wonder to what extent blogging has eaten into their clientele.
However, that is besides the point. What was striking about that time, and my reaction to what was being written in these rooms, was my wholesale abandonment of almost all sensible considerations and a headlong plunge into a world of fantasy I sustained with the help of an equally infatuated young woman. Infatuated both with each other and the medium of the internet itself that allowed our volatile emotions to blossom without any control; I think it is fair to say that we were both quite crazy.
The strange thing is, looking back on those wild days, is that I was always aware in the back of my mind that I was acting like a nutter yet chose to press on to what turned out to be a painful and bruising denouement.
I emerged burned and was taught a valuable lesson about the power of self-delusion. One I will never forget. It shaped much of my thinking about this medium and the seductive milieu that it can create. It's a trap for the vulnerable or unwary, and no safer for being practised from in front of a computer in your house than any more obviously risky place.