To the dead Lenore who always appears on the same Google page, an interloper who comes up in search results by virtue of our identical names, twinned on the Internet, the two Lenore’s, one a writer, the other a Route 66 historian, the first woman to receive the John Steinbeck Award for caring about preservation. Remember how I contacted you when you were alive, sent an email about our matched identities? We could have used the same library card, gone shopping together at CostCo. Heck. They never check photo ID there anyway.
Maybe in a former lifetime we were sisters whose parents lacked imagination; turns out we’re just two people with the same first and last name, the same algorithm. Oh, Lenore. You never contacted me. I was trying to be your friend. Then there were those terrible rankings. Your home page that appeared before mine, confusing image searches. How was anyone supposed to know the real Lenore? Don’t get me wrong I recognize you raised the bar high and now I’m trying to get over it.
I bet you think I’m competitive. How can I compete with a dead woman? Let’s be real. You were involved in trading posts and gas stations, probably thought I was a crank scheduled for deletion. You were all over the place, gave dog owners advice. Now you’ve fallen below the fold, your obituary becoming more dated, and I wonder what you think and if you care.
In some weird way you do exist, a Lenore who inhabits the Internet in a past tense that is served up in my present, no different than hearing Frank Sinatra, Old Blue Eyes, crooning “Strangers in the Night.” But non, you are fished out of a hat by virtue of a link, a Milky Way of connective tissue. I’m not sure what to make of this except I know our names and futures are linked.
Spinoza rated intuitive knowledge as the highest in his own operating system. But what do any of us know in this crazy world, you tell me, you’re the one into preservation, and I’m so glad you didn’t embarrass us, put together a cross-country road map and pulled into a rest stop until cancer got the best of you. I’m on the spot now for whatever comes next, my season to cavort on the Internet while you, my baalabusta of the great Mother Road, wait at the frontier of something so big, it keeps getting rediscovered, a Route 66 at the confluence of rivers and oceans, a place where networks talk to each other without servers. With everything said and done, you are still there like a twin who wears the same clothes as I do, my doppelganger who drinks with Jack Kerouac and sings in a valance of electrons.