Explaining AIM to a 12-year-old

aim-logoThe “Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutor” section of my life’s pie chart puts me in a fun position where I get to spend a lot of time with 12-year-olds.

I’m only 17 years older than these kids. I’m still probably closer in age to the kids than I am to their parents. But an interaction a few weeks ago reminded me about the sharp divide between me and my Torah-chanting friends.

I tried to tell — let’s call her Maya — a story that mentioned AIM. It was actually a cute story, and I’d tell it to you here but it looks like I already blogged about it 11 years ago.

But anyway, here’s how the conversation went.

Lia: It’s probably easier to get more practicing done if you put away your cell phone for a little while. It’s like this one time in high school when I decided to try to do math homework without being on AIM and I was so much more productive.

Maya: What’s AIM?

Lia: You know, AOL Instant Messenger. It’s what we used to use before Gchat.

Maya: What’s Gchat?

Lia: Gchat and AIM are instant messaging platforms so you can chat with people instantly.

Maya: You mean like e-mail?

Lia: No, like instantly.

Maya: Isn’t e-mail instant?

Lia: Yes, well, um … it was like texting. But from your computer. And you could send messages to people on your buddy list.

[I look up from my conversation and she’s already lost interest, texting on her phone.]

If anyone wants to Gchat me and distract me while I’m supposed to be doing something else, I’d be happy to reminisce about AIM.

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