Hi, it's me: Russell.
Saturday, November 8, 1997.
Following my normal routine, the first thing I did when I got home was to read my mail.
I was feeling pretty chipper, I suppose. I'd landed a new job about three weeks ago, and I was now spending my days programming and designing a virtual reality system. I'd had what I thought of as a difficult time the month before, but with hindsight it was really very easy. After graduating from UCSD with a computer science degree and leaving my old college job with peace and good will towards my boss, I turned to some contract work that was supposed to become full-time but instead it petered out after a month. Then my apartment complex was bought out, and the new owners wouldn't let me rent out a single room, it had to be the whole apartment or nothing. I was homeless, jobless, and bummed out.
And so it was that I found myself spurred on, partly by superstition and partly by the spirit of adventure, to try out a new city. I figured I should see what Silicon Valley had to offer a guy like me. I was very afraid that no one would hire me. In fact it took me two weeks of active job searching to settle down, though it felt like months.
I have had a little less time to read and answer my mail since I started working full time, but I still enjoy the process. My mail is generally more good than bad, sometimes telling me I'm a nice guy, or brave, or clever... sometimes it just makes me blush. Even when I get not-so-nice mail, I've reached a point where I can laugh off the ones that are very dumb and wrong, discount a few that are repetitive parrots of things I've heard and answered before, and have a good long think about the ones that are well reasoned. I like it when people make me think.
Of course there was a brief period of time while I was hiding the fact that I was out of school and out of work, and at that time I got no pleasure from my mail. Some of the more personal potshots people would take were hitting a little too close to home. I sometimes wish I could write a program that filters out the complimentary letters from the sarcastic ones, or the ones that make my personality a target -- I'd like to read the harsh ones when I feel like it and not be surprised by them -- but there isn't an artificial intelligence yet that's good enough to detect sarcasm. A lot of times, people read my personal home page, and then they say I'm egocentric, or they ask me why I waste so much valuable time (that I could use instead to make money) by making a web page that just begs people to snipe at it.
But now I had money in my pocket and a fashion plate for a sister who was gradually teaching me how to spend it. I was stable and happier, but it felt like something was missing. I'd been "sort of" dating a sweet Russian girl for a little while, but she was busy all the time and it didn't seem like the whole thing was going anywhere in spite of my steady, patient attention and planning.
Downloading my mail on this day, I noticed it took an unusually long time to get it all, and figured some butthead in advertising had probably sent me a big file that I didn't want. I trashed a few junk mails... "Don't throw this letter away! It's the most important letter you'll ever receive! Like you, I'm a skeptical person and I normally don't waste my time on this stuff, but this is different! Listen, I was a broke janitor and now I own seven yachts, all because I sent five dollars each to five people..." yadda, yadda, yadda. Sometimes I laugh and wonder how much those are really the same as my Amway mail.
Junk. Junk. Amway: nice. Amway: mean. Humorous letter from my friend, who was now the manager of the furniture store he'd started working in a few months ago and had a much better social life than I did. Junk. Perfunctory and unenthusiastic letter from my girlfriend (well, in my mind and my plans she was my girlfriend). Amway: neutral. Junk.
Liked your homepage, and it's clever how you put an Amway site up, so many more people could find your homepage(if in fact this is what you did), being that Amway is such a popular subject.
Anyway, I liked your homepage, and just had to comment that you are very cute, and so is your cat. Your pics inspired me to send you one of me(i'm in the middle), and one of my once beloved feline,(he is now deceased), Bear.
Anyway, what brought me to meeting you in the first place, was your Amway site,(no surprise here, I'm sure!lol). I had a terrible Amway experience, and was approached by a MLM'r to look at an opportunity with Alpine Industries. *she runs for the hills!*
I decided to search the web, and see if I could find any information on it just for the heck of it. I was sure that this scheme was just another "Amway cult" like business. I still think it is, and all the multitudes of other mlm's as well. I just had to visit the Amway site when I stumbled across it. Not at all surprised that what I went through was extremely typical. I have to admit, I feel very embarrassed that I was so typical and naive 8 years ago, when I became an Amway idiot. I spent 3 years of my life in that crap. Now that's flat out idiotic!
well, now I am 31 years old, and much wiser. Amway, and all the other mlm's can kiss my.......well, I'm too much of a lady to be so crude.
Anyhow, I won't take anymore of your time, as I'm sure you are inundated with mail. However, would like to say, you provided me with a good hour of entertainment, and thanks.
Take it easy,
Did she really just send me a picture of herself? Now THAT'S something I never saw before, certainly. Page down, page down, there it is. The picture above is not what she sent; it was a rather boring family snapshot but I thought, "Hmmm, the one in the middle... you know, she's not half bad."
Not that I meant to do anything about it. I may be a programming geek and an internet junkie, but I have a strong personal opposition to mixing that with my private life. (I know, I know, this whole web page is a big fat advertisement for my private life. But it's not an invitation or anything, just an ego trip with a few jokes.)
Even so, I've never been above a little harmless flirtation, so I fired off a polite little message thanking her for her kindness and made a mischievous comment about pretty blonde ladies in Amway.
A few days later, she gave me some ID numbers and asked if I wanted to chat.
Flash forward. I'm open about my private life, that must be obvious to everyone... but I'm not THAT open.
Months later, the Russian girl decided she wanted to be Just Friends after I called her onto the carpet and took her on a very expensive date. I decided that I didn't want to be friends at all. The luxury of having priorities was a new experience for me, and one of my priorities included finally meeting and getting together with a woman who could be decisive, instead of another "girl". That's when Ginny surprised the hell out of me by telling me she was ready to take care of everything.
After spending a lot of time with Ginny, I found her to be very warm, charming, and open. She shares my love of great stories, exciting movies, heavy metal music, chess, philosophical arguments, and fine food. The truth is that she's eight years older than me, but in a give-and-take sense, we are very much on the same level with each other. And I found out, in passing, that she too likes to be public and vocal about her life... and she hadn't really told me much of anything about her memories of Amway, a subject which continues to fascinate me after two years.
So I asked her to write a story for me, so that I could publish it and flaunt her for her strength. Ginny was delighted and honored to participate, and that's not my ego talking this time, it's a fact that she told me.
Please read Ginny's extensive Amway experiences and enjoy them. If you wish to congratulate or flame her, you can sign in on the guest book. Harass her at your peril: she's a tough lady and she'll take you on any day.
By the way, two years later we were married.
Over to you, Ginny.