I’ve had a couple of funny moments in the office this week. The other day, my co-worker Mike was ready to leave, and I was just checking what my at-work computer had downloaded. I expressed my trepidation about the fact that my ongoing Complete Wagner’s Ring Cycle Operas bittorrent downloads were frozen at 1 gigabyte, which means at about 70%. Then again, today, I received the food-trash bin that Lime ordered for me online, and I delightedly opened the box and showed it off.
“Hey, what do you think your 17-year-old-self would have said about that food trash bin?” Mike asked me.
“Well, you know, if my 17-year-old self was having to take out the trash every few days with the kind of food-trash bin I have now, which has no handle on the side to hold onto, and he had to get his hands dirty and gross every time he took out the food trash, I’d think he’d be pretty happy.”
But as we talked about it, I kind of realized he was right: 14 or 15 years ago, I would have laughed at someone for being excited about a new food trash bin. I’d have thought it a little pathetic, I guess. I would have changed the subject pretty quickly. I would’ve still thought downloading Wagner was cool, though, if I’d known what downloading meant then. (Though in fact I know that I didn’t know what that meant until 1994 or maybe even 1995. I was still dubbing myself copies of the library’s best jazz and avant-garde classical CDs.)
And now, I totally understand it. And you know what? I’m damned excited. The food trash bin, like I said, has this handle on the side. And Wagner rocks. And I love the little earwax spoon I bought last month. The things in my life that bring me delightthings, as opposed to peopleare far different than the things that delighted me when I was 17, before there was an Internet, before I was reading SF novels or studying any kind of foreign language or, hell, strong enough to even appreciate the rewards of being different from most of the people I know, because for me it seemed more of a burden then.
It reminds me of a T-shirt I’ve seen online that demands, “Talk Nerdy To Me.” I love my geeky things; I think I love them the way some people loved their childhood baseball gloves, or their first cars. I think I actually have away my ball glove, and I’ve never loved a car. Cars are too big and dirty and last-century. Give me something small, that fits in my pocket and blinks when the power is low. Give me a food trashbin with a handle on the side so I don’t have to get the slop on my hands. Give me something my geeky side can celebrate, and you’ll win me over for a long, long time.