After a close friend moved away, we began to communicate by computer. We met each week in her favorite chat room and would type for hours.
One night, I had a high fever and swollen larynx and felt too sick to chat, so I dashed off a brief note canceling our cyber-plans, then fell exhausted into bed.
My friend seemed upset when I phoned her a few days later. "If you don't want to go on the 'Net with me," she said, "just say so."
Perplexed, I retrieved the last e-mail I'd sent her. It read, "I won't be able to talk to you on the computer tonight. I have laryngitis."