PC Columnist, San Diego Union Tribune
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Surprise Invitation from a Married Woman

Back in the 1990s "instant messaging" was new and quite amazing. The idea that you could talk to someone anywhere in the world without having to pay long distance charges was truly exciting.
Seductive Married Woman Marge

Nowadays this is called "texting" (with some people "sexting") but in those days it was a whole new digital experience.

I was once giving a presentation at the Fallbrook Computer Club and was about to demonstrate how to initiate an IM (Instant Message) chat. I logged on to my IM service and saw some names on my Buddy List.

I was about to double-click Margie and send her a greeting. Well, imagine my surprise when Margie beat me to it.

"Hi, Don," she'd typed, "how are you doing tonight?"

This is great, I thought. Now everyone can see what it's like to be IMed by a friend and now I can show them how to reply.

"Great, Marge," I replied. "How are you this evening?"

"Well," she replied, "kind of bored. My husband's out of town and I was wondering if you'd be interested in stopping by for a glass of wine."

Well, you can imagine the raised eyebrows on my viewers (all of whom knew I was married) as I gasped and tried to think of a suitable answer.

"Margie," I typed, "I think you should know that I'm doing a Computer Club presentation and about 95 people are watching this IM."

"OMG!" she replied, and then her name disappeared from the screen.

I then explained to the still rather astonished group of onlookers that Margie was an old friend and that we often kidded around like this. (I'm not sure everyone was convinced.)

Anyway, the following morning I spotted Margie online and immediately sent her an IM saying I was sorry about what had happened.

"I am so embarrassed," she replied. "What must those people think? I may never send another IM!"

"Not to worry," I reassured her. "I told everyone you and I are old friends and that we often kid around like that."

But that got me to thinking. So I added, "By the way, Marge, you were kidding, weren't you?"

"You'll never know now," she replied, as her name again vanished from my screen.

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