Every once in a while I get a little crazy and decide to take another step into the abyss of technology. This week I took another step, an unsettling step for someone my age.
I opened a new email account, on gmail. No big deal, you might think. Right?
Let me tell you how wrong you are. Because deciding on one's identity is no small feat. Anyone who has set up a gmail account knows that you can't use the name you want to use. You can't be the person you want to be.
And I for one don't think it has anything to do with the fact that somebody else has your exact name and idea. I'm quite sure it's actually a Googleconspiracy.
I wanted an easy, snappy name, one that didn't require a lot of spelling. What about gailmail@gmail? Sounds pretty good, yes? But no, it's "not available". It's taken? I tried the old first and middle name thing: gailelizabeth@gmail. Nope. Already taken, too. And on it went. I could have used something like gailelizabethinbend2495@gmail . Obviously there are already 2,494 people named Gail Elizabeth living in Bend, a town of only 70,000. It makes me wonder where all those women are. I have never ever met a single Gail Elizabeth in my many years of living, but there sure are a lot of them out there in Googleland.
For a moment I thought it would be easier to go down to the courthouse, or wherever you go, to change my name. But I refused to let Google determine my identity. I've spent years (decades actually) working on this, trying to figure out what type of person I wanted to be. What style clothes to wear. What music to groove to. What to be when I grew up. And you know what? This is a free country, and I am not going to let some ginormous (spelled according to my thirteen year old son) company decide my identity!
So, I kept plugging, and typing, and clicking away, and finally came upon an email that uses my first and middle names and the initial of my last name. And in the end this all makes sense. My first name is of course how most people know me, but my husband usually only uses that name if he's keeping emotional distance for some reason. My middle name, or a nickname derived from my middle name, has become his pet name for me, so on good days I can be that person. And then, to others, I have been known by my last name, so the first initial of that last name makes sense too, if you're one of those few people and if you are even planning to send me an email via gmail, which is highly unlikely.
Of course, it's still all too long and complicated, and I have far more important things to think about at this stage of life, and the more I think about this email problem, the more I don't like it, so I think maybe I will go down to the courthouse and get a new name.
But first I'll check with gmail.