When it comes to websites, I've had my share of whirlwind romances. CuteOverload and I had a thing; Scrabulous whispered sweet nothings in my ear for most of 2007. But no site ever captured my attention like Kozmo.
Kozmo and its close relative UrbanFetch were online messenger services that would deliver any number of household products, food items, electronics—almost anything you could imagine. A Kozmo messenger in your area was dispatched the instant you made the order. Delivery was free and tipping was discouraged. Genius! Really, it all seemed to good to be true. This, it seemed, was why the Internet was invented.
The Kozmo guys darted around the city on bikes with orange messenger bags. They each had special Kozmo names like Skip or Spike or Mac. There was something romantic about the notion of these young men (and they were mostly men) dipping in and out of dozens of people's lives each day. It made me feel like I was part of something larger than myself—without actually having to leave my apartment. Each time I went online to order order a video or a bag of pretzels, it was as if I was tugging some imaginary string that would bring a cute guy to my door. A cute guy with presents, no less.
Ultimately, Kozmo broke my heart. It ceased operating in April '01. The memories, however, will live forever: The late-night soup and trashy magazines when I had a cold; the time you brought over Annie Hall and a bag of popcorn at 2AM; the many, many Ben & Jerry deliveries. Kozmo, I would rather have shared one lifetime with you than have to face all the ages of this world alone.
Anna Jane Grossman has joined us for a few weeks, documenting life in the early aughts, and how it differs from today. The author of Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By (Abrams Image) and the creator of ObsoleteTheBook.com, she has also written for dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Salon.com, the Associated Press, Elle and the Huffington Post, as well as Gizmodo. She has a complicated relationship with technology, but she does have an eponymous website: AnnaJane.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaJane.