It's 2005, and I'm walking into my elementary school's yard to play with my friends for a bit before school starts, but when I meet their eyes, they're wide with panic.
"James* hacked your website last night."
It's 2005, so I have a Piczo website. It's for the "band" I'm in with my best friend Ellen, and my friends and I like to spend time on the site after school. We chat in the drag-and-dropped chatboxes, as Ellen and I copy-paste html for Flash games and upload album art we handcrafted in MSPaint.
And we have a password-protected top secret page where we talk about our crushes. Most of us actually have the same crush - his name is Roka - and this page is heavily focused on him. And James hacked our site last night.
At first I wonder if he guessed the very secure password for our top secret page - "weloveroka" - but to my surprise he managed to log directly into Piczo and have the ability to directly edit our website. The username was the name of our site, and the skillfully guessed password was... "ellenandevy".
I'm thinking about what James found last night. That page has several pictures of Roka and sparkly text describing how cute he is. Several of us have also swooned in the chat about our other crushes. There's even a "Kiss, Marry, Kill" section where I lay judgment on almost every boy in my class. Now almost every boy in my class has seen this page.
Obviously I'm mortified, but it turns out to be less of a big deal than you might think. It's grade five, and my friends and I haven't been super subtle in our staring and giggling for the past several months. We've been loudly talking about Roka, referring to him with super secret code names like "Owl", names that we changed every few weeks when it became clear he'd cracked the code.
So everyone had already known who we were crushing on, and our crushes were just as embarrassed as us. Though it was definitely awkward to have it acknowledged more openly, we all tried to ignore the gift of transparency that James had brought us.
Have I learned from this experience? Do I avoid talking about crushes on the internet where people might be able to find them? Well, I'm definitely not going to be the one to answer that question.
*All names except mine have been changed in this story