I haven't used a UNIX shell since 1999.
But I am falling in love all over again.
I first learned how to access a UNIX shell in 1995. I had just moved across country, a wide-eyed freshman in a new town and a new world.
A nerd girl on my dorm floor, who I instantly gravitated to, because I was desperate for nerdy friends, said "Hey, let's get our email accounts set up."
I had used telnet and Eudora and Netscape back in high school. I had used mail and gopher and visited so many MUDs. So of course I needed an email address. That was where it was at.
I quickly got used to PINE. And then I discovered more things.
Thanksgiving 1995, I was hanging out with other nerdy friends, all of us stuck in our dorms for the holiday.
"Hey, do you want to learn how to make a website?" one of my friends said.
And that's how I learned HTML.
So then it was Pico and late nights typing directly into that little UNIX shell, building webpages character by character. Learning what worked, what didn't.
Align left, align right, suddenly there were tables and you could do so much with tables, it was ridiculous.
I discovered IRC. It was even better than a MUD, because there wasn't this artifice of gameplay, it was all conversation all the time.
I built a page about Catholic saints. I handcoded calendars that linked to stories. I created long ordered lists. I wrote stories.
I got a job building websites for the women's center on campus. I learned how to use Photoshop.
I met the man who became my husband. We met on IRC. And I would spend nights and days with IRC open, from UNIX shells to ircle on a well-used old Macintosh.
I graduated. And I said goodbye to my UNIX shell.
But now I'm back. Using Nano. Rediscovering Alpine. Trying to remember those commands I used nearly 20 years ago to open up an entirely new universe to me.
I made a links page.
And then I wrote up the basics of HTML. Just in case.