We Had No Idea

I recall it, somewhat. It was the mid eighties. I wore a lot of black and white. Pants were cuffed. Girls were wearing jelly bracelets and lots of neon. I do not remember opening the box it was contained in, or plugging in power or monitor cables. The keyboard was directly connected to the rest of the machine.

The machine (a beige box) was placed in a wooden hutch. In front of that hutch was one of those chairs that you had to kneel in.

I’m not sure how much it cost, but probably it was expensive. I don’t know what convinced my parents to buy one. I don’t know the reasoning. A lot of those details are lost to the ravages of time.

I stared many hours at green letters on black backgrounds. I typed scores of words that were not english. I pored over arrangements of excited electrons that presumably represented a human being or some sort of robot. I wrote down the important events and feelings of a fourteen year old life, saved them to magnetic recordings on plastic platters. Printed them out on long corridors of paper.

How could I know the future that the box held for me? How could I know that within the maze of wires and traces, the pathways of electricity—there lay dormant a career, a life choice, obsessions.

How could I know that someday, the descendants of this box would replace newspapers, phones, letters, television, VCRs? That it would be my primary method of social interaction? My primary source of entertainment?

I could not know.

Now, you and I, we meet here every once and again.

I share bits and pieces of my life with friends and even strangers.

All because of that beige box.