Back in January, I somehow got to thinking of some what – ifs in my life, including what if I'd not found h2g2, which morphed into what if h2g2 didn't exist at all? Then I started wondering who else had lives that would've been different. And then, the dangerous part – I decided to ask1.
If h2g2 never existed...
Without h2g2 I would not now be preparing to become the bearer of a Dutch passport2. I found an amazing network of friends not just in the UK and Netherlands but across continents. From Monsy in the good old U.S. of A to Wowbagger entertaining us with cartoons of h2g2 and his own life down under. All those meets, mini meets, pre meets etc etc, All added to the rich tapestry of my life.
I spent far too much time during the early 00’s on h2g2, probably contributing to a lot of problems for me later on. I was using the website to hide myself from a work life and marriage that were both in serious trouble. The trouble arrived anyway, and that’s when I lessened my involvement in h2g2. I badly needed to get my act together. In the intervening years, a lot of things improved.
H2g2 introduced me to some of the most interesting people I have ever encountered, some of whom I had the pleasure to meet in real life - Psychocandy, Teuchter, Gnomon, Ben, Z, Amy & Sho to mention a few. It was Ben (agcb) who gave me the idea to set up a skeptics club in Cork, something I am still intensely proud of. I met Amy in Northern California last year on my trip up the West Coast. And even just last month, via a contact with Sandra, I was able to spend an interesting morning photographing wildlife and make a new friend, deep in the heartland of Florida.
And Ann and Phil too! So much Ann and Phil! Regular visitors to this side of the pond, and likewise in the other direction. Some of the nicest people I have ever met, I met through here.
If h2g2 never existed, I would've not found that I have creative writing skills. I have written essays, journals, short stories and poems on subjects that are of interest of me. I have also conversed with people who have the same interests from me who are from the British Isles and Ireland and from other countries around the world.
I found H2G2 a winter when I was ill, bedridden and more of an insomniac than usual. I (re – )invented my online persona (dragonqueen) and met people I wouldn’t have otherwise, some of them even IRL. I became a Thingite (and calendar maker), a Goddess, a Sporkite, member of the Feline Mercenary Army and of the Brotherhood without a name, a Keeper, mean aunt/older sister to some fellow researchers – and learned to know my favourite sub there (2legs ??). Eventually life took other ways, and I didn’t have time or energy to maintain my presence in HooToo land. I still miss all the fun.
And the very last respondant, who technically answered after my firm(ish> deadline...
If h2g2 had never existed, I wouldn't have discovered the joy of connecting with people you know only by an online nickname, finding common points of interest regardless of differences in age, geography or what have you. I befriended (or at least beacquaintanced) people I'd never have approached in real life otherwise, and it made me a better person.
It also taught me that the difference between "online" and "in real life" is arbitrary and unhelpful.
h2g2 also gave me a passion for deadlines whooshing past, apparently.
And that, my fellow Researchers, is that. I think that it is safe to say that, for many people, the world is a richer place for h2g2's existence. Especially for those that love the Researchers who may not've been, any more.Toybox