Sweet Home Chicago – “Part I – The Social Network”

MiGente Relaunch!
MiGente Relaunch! (Photo credit: ntang)

The year 2002 marked a new beginning for me. It was the year that I went all-in, showed all my cards, and took the most ridiculous leap of faith of my life. I would be lying to you if I said that I honestly thought things would end up working out for me as well as they did. On the contrary, I was convinced I would crash and burn in spectacular fashion. But I was a 23 year old kid with absolutely nothing to lose. I mean besides my heart, mind, and any ounce of self-respect I had left.

Allow me to backtrack a little. It is exactly 2 months after the events of 9\11. I am 22 years old and at that particular point in time I was living in Elmhurst Queens. One of my closest friend to this day came by to pay me a visit at my mom’s apartment. For some strange reason my boy was acting as giddy as a schoolgirl at a One Direction concert.  He tells me “Yo Tom let me put you on to some shit I found kid.” My friend had a long history of getting excited over things that I found trivial at best but I humored him because he was my boy after all. He hops over to my little Compaq Presario with it’s 512MB of ram and 10GB hard drive and Pentium Celeron processor. The 56K modems starts up and starts beeping and screeching in protest. As I’m sure some of you can remember the internet wasn’t so fast in those days so I popped open a couple of 40’s that my buddy had brought with him and we waited patiently while  the computer did it’s thing. After what probably felt like a little short of forever he got the Windows Explorer to come up and typed in MiGente.com on the search bar. I think I may have mentioned this in passing in one of my earlier post; but for those who are not familiar with Migente it was a social networking site geared toward Latinos and the people who loved them. The site is still around today but hardly anyone goes on it anymore. Not since Myspace and then Facebook came on the scene.

Now mind you my boy is not Latino. He is actually Italian and I think Jewish and some other eastern European mixes. But he always did appreciate a fine Latina booty. So the fact that he was typing in his log in information for a predominantly Latino site came as no surprise to me. He clicks on one of the many username that he had on his friends list. As we wait around for the new page to load up he begins to tell me how he found Migente about a month earlier, and how the site was filled with all manners of hot shorties that were DTF. I immediately laughed. “Yeah, yeah whatever kid” was my initial reaction. That’s what all this excitement is about? Booty calls with some crusty ass chicks? No thank you my nigga, I’ll pass.  “Son just hold up a minute and let me show you what I got here” he told me. “Then you can talk all  the shit you want”. So we took a couple of more swigs from our malt liquor and then the page finished loading. I will admit I was impressed with what I saw. I don’t remember what the girl name was. What I do recall is that she was this little bronze skinned cutie, with quite the little body. She flashed this big ol smile on her profile pic that gave off this friendly easy going vibe. She seemed to me like the kind of girl that probably had the largest collection of ugly guy friend in the entire eastern seaboard.  I pictured her to be the type of kind soul that judged people for who they were and not so much by what they looked like. Off course I don’t know if that was really true. It was just what I imagined or more likely had secretly hoped for in my ugly duckling mind.

I turned over to my boy and admitted to him that I was impressed. “I’ve been talking with her for 3 weeks now. She’s fly as all hell son. And the crazy shit is that there a ton of shorties just like this one” he goes on to tell me. My buddy then goes on to give me the a guided tour of all the girls that he had on his friends list. They all had names like lil_fly_mama, Spanish_flygurl, Colombia_nena or something along those lines.  It was an assembly line of pretty faces and low cut v-necks. He then processed to show me all the little conversations that he was having with all these girls and tells me which ones he was planning on meeting within the coming days and weeks. I was beyond jealous for my buddies new found luck.

Then my good pal decided to give me a suggestion that until that point I had not even bothered to consider. “You should get in on this. Sign up kid maybe you can hook up with a shorty or two. Get yourself going”. Initially I thought my buddy was out of his mind. I was 23 years old. Still living at home with my mom and two sibling. Had no job. Was not going to school. And all I did all day long was surf the web, download music, read comic book, play video games, and stuff my face with junk food. Plus I was as big as a freaking house. Had long flowing hair that reached down to my shoulder blades and a beard that grew only in patches. So to say that I was not the most aesthetically pleasing fella out there was putting it rather mildly. There was no way in hell that any shorty on Migente or any other site was was going to give me the time of day. Besides I had no confidence. I had spent the last four years retreating further and further within myself. I had no prospects for the future. And the only aspiration I had at the time was to be a comic book writer, which I might as well had wanted to be an astronaut or a deep sea diver.

But I gotta give my boy credit. He persisted with the idea until all I could think of was to toss him out our third story window. The thing is that I get why my friend insisted so passionately. He could probably see how miserable I was. He knew I hadn’t been out with a member of the opposite sex for a long time. He understood how unhappy I was and he just wanted me to do something, anything that might put some life in me again. And since us guys, especially young ones, are such simple creatures, he figured that a good lay would be the cure for all my ills.  I don’t know if it was the malt liquor or if I just wanted get my friend to shut the hell up about it, but eventually I relented; and I signed up to Migente that same night. Little did we both know that this would be the start of a series of events that would led me to trade in my 11373 zip code for 60628. Life altering instances are not always so easy to identify at the time that they occur. It is only after you look back and do some reflecting that you see how the Butterfly Effect really does come into play.

To Be Continued: Sweet Home Chicago: Part II – Rock On

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