Ode to some guy in a chat room – By @nearsanctum182

By Leanne Spencer


 Ode to some guy in a chat room


One of my first memories of living in London Is my mum taking me to a bookstore. It must have been WHSmith or something the like of it, but I just remember holding tight to her hand as she led me faithfully into this building that was wall to wall, floor to ceiling books. The rest is kind of a blur.

There was a lot of sprinting from one section to another and reading synopsises like soliloquies that held all the answers.

Then my pocket rang.

I pulled out the Nokia-bricktastic and pressed it to my ear with anticipation as if there could be more than one person calling.

It was my mum, of course.

From some sprinted-past section of the store, she’d taken refuge (and a seat).

“When you’re ready and you’ve picked all the ones you want, I’m in historical fiction, okay baby?”

“Okay, mum!”

I bought more than I could carry. But she helped me with that.


I went on like this for a while. I weaved my time and habits around escaping to the world bound in pages and glue. My best friend and I would sit in silence, back to back, reading the exact same book on the day of its release.  

“Why don’t you just wait for her to finish?”

Why don’t you just shut the hell up, Rebecca?”


The book wasn’t the point. The story was.

The single-minded, unaided exploration of the place behind my own eyelids.

The things I could imagine.

The worlds I could forge.


Then one day, the internet happened.


I don’t mean the boom of the dot com era; I was born in ’97 so I always had the technology running alongside me. What I mean to say is that the internet happened to me.

It was a summer sandwiched between two academic years and we’d up and moved-house.

We had a family laptop but the internet in the new house hadn’t been set up, yet. But thankfully, back in ye old days of…2008, people’s grasp of internet security was at a low.

Though I couldn’t tell you exactly which neighbour’s WIFI we stole, I admit that we did so religiously.  

I spent my time playing games and Asking Jeeves things he didn’t know the answer to.  


Until I discovered chatrooms.


To me, it was the most incredible thing. I could talk to hundreds of people from all around the globe and all walks of life, without having to look at their faces or put trousers on. Naturally, this became a daily ritual;

1.Log on

2.Find someone to talk to

3.Ask them questions you’ve never thought of before


It was amazing! I was learning as fast as I could type!

But people aren’t books.

They don’t always want to share stories. Sometimes, they want to be left alone. 

Thirteen-year-old me hadn’t quite grasped the concept of intellectual boundaries, yet, so one slow day in the chatroom, when I could find no one to talk to, I whined aloud to everyone online.


“I’m so booooored! Give me something to read!!”




>@Leanne go read Plato’s allegory of a cave


In retrospect, I think he was joking. Or, at the very least wasn’t expecting me to actually do it. But knowledge is knowledge, sarcastic or otherwise. So I looked it up. And once I’d found the Wikipedia page and didn’t log back into the chatroom for a full day.

It was Philosophy! Some buttwipe in a chatroom had dropped me in the belly of epistemology (the study of knowledge).

Now, I’m right back where I started.

The nerd in a bookstore.






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