That Time Google Thought I was a Virus, or: How I Lost and Found Myself Through the Internet

If you’d like a lesson in humility, start a blog, write for two years, and then try to find your blog through a Google search. Have you ever clicked through all the pages that come up when you do a Google search? It’s kind of fascinating. I had never gotten past page 3 before, but just for kicks I thought I’d search for my blog and then just keep clicking until I found it. I mean, Google supposedly finds images of you from a drunken party 10 years ago, right? How hard could it be to find my blog when I googled the blog’s actual title (Turning Pages)?

Thirty-six pages of results later (Salma Hayek freaking out about “turning” 50!) (something in Russian!), and no luck. Seriously, I clicked through all 36 pages. No idea what marks Google’s arbitrary cut-off point for search results (apparently it’s Russian), but I clicked through them all.

But there’s lots of nonsensical shit on the internet, right? Surely my blog can’t be the only nonsensical shit out there, so of course I should expect it to be a trifle hard to locate. Second attempt: giving Google a little hint, I searched “Turning Pages blog”.

Fun fact: if you scroll through the pages of Google’s search results too quickly, trying to find your blog, Google thinks you are a virus and prompts you to enter a CAPTCHA code before it lets you continue.


Google screenshot_LI

So after two years, 86 posts, 729 visitors and 1439 total views…. Google thinks I’m a virus.

Undeterred by this virtual slight, I decided to really spell it out for poor Google: “Turning Pages of books and life”. Hooray! After punching in the *exact title of this blog*…. Google found me as the NUMBER THREE result!

So the lesson here kids is humility, and perhaps some relief that computers aren’t quite yet ready to take over the world (which is good, because imagine how badly Google would bung-up your Starbucks order if this is their search result capacity?!).

But this all fits with something I’ve been thinking about lately, which is the neglectful state of my blog, and the attention I give to all the things in my life that I’m passionate about but which don’t pay the bills (hell, this nonsensical shit doesn’t even contribute to the bills, in fact I pay – in the form of internet fees and the price of a laptop – to put these words out into the world, so…. You’re wecome, world. The least you could do is spring for the odd martini sometime. Jeez.)

There are only so many hours in the day, and most of those hours are devoted to doing mandatory stuff: sleeping, eating, working, planning for the zombie apocalypse. There’s no getting around these chores, so you might as well embrace them and hopefully enjoy them.

But what to do with the scant few remaining hours? I try to make spending time with family the top priority, so if there’s the opportunity to do something with my husband or step-kids or extended family, I almost always grab it. The rest of the time, well I’m one of those people who have so many things bouncing around in my mind that I *want* to do, that if I don’t focus on one or two of them, all I end up doing is playing Candy Crush and watching John Oliver clips for 3 hours and then it’s bed time.

This level was really really hard.
This level was really really hard.

When I started this blog, it had been many, many, years since I had really written anything for pleasure, and I have loved writing since I was a kid. To be truthful, I was feeling a bit bereft; I was putting so much energy into the mandatory stuff that I wasn’t tending to the stuff that makes it all worthwhile.

Once I started writing, it was like running into an old and dear friend at the mall, sitting down with them for lunch and seeing them every week regularly after that – both revealing and intensely rewarding. How could I have let that go from my life? Like any good relationship, it has been a challenge to maintain, and sometimes I have been a bad friend to myself, but by and large this blog has been a window into really exploring all the things about myself that I like the best. And it’s opened the door to re-discovering all sorts of other things about the world that I love – taking classes and doing art, meeting new people and exploring controversy.

So I guess the real lesson here is that, even when something is tough, even when it is scary, and when you screw it up sometimes and it’s really just nonsensical shit, even in humility you can find something to laugh at and love about yourself. It took me 36 Google search pages, 36 years, one CAPTCHA, and countless bottles of wine to get to this point, so you can take my word for it.

And if you agree, and you like what you read, please come on back and read some more, and maybe Google search me a few times – sending subliminal messages to Google to bump me up over the Russian results can’t hurt, right?


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