I have a box full of modems, and it is a box full of stories.
You grow up with computers, or rather they catch up, and then seemingly flash ahead of you. You move from seeing black and white TV to a computer screen when you are 10, and then you learn how to use the internet, ad everything changes. Time passes as you are hunched on that computer. You miss the glint of the moon in the glass, or the rhythmic chirping of the crickets hiding in your shoe closet. You miss the pattering sound of the rain ramming the rooftop or the broken drops of water on the windows. Time stops, you write about the world, but miss it all.
Then you meet Zuku Fiber. You’ve dated before, but there is no one like her. She doesn’t wear very flashy clothes or even hang out at the local. She wants to stay at home. She wants to live well, invest and find a balance. She wants children and is thinking about the future. You begin to hunt her, but the cables of her love do not yet reach where you yearning lives.
how l feel when my wifi isn’t working pic.twitter.com/YRJeMdCg00
— Markus (@LivinLegnd) May 5, 2015
You meet her at a housewarming party in South B. At first, you don’t even notice her presence. You walk in and switch on the party mode. A bunch of bananas for the host, a bottle of rum for the party. In the bedroom, someone catches your attention. Her dimples, so prominent, and there is something about her smile. Your charm switches itself on, and you give her the bananas, a wink, and walk back to the main party. But you are just bidding your time.
A modern party. Core huddled on seats, drinking, on their phones. Is it a dark and stormy night outside? Who cares? Who knows? Someone is on the computer, mixing music directly from YouTube. It takes an hour before you notice there’s no buffering. There was a time when that is how we watched things online, and most of them were blue movies. Talk about delayed gratification 101. You sit there and well, pause with the pauses. But something feels different this time, the music sounds familiar, and your drunken brain’s struggles to see the characters in the video.
You pause, and then continue. Keep the rum coming, do a shot or two of vodka. Then something suddenly makes sense, you are in the same room with the people in the music videos. It has taken you five and a half hours to realize that the girl who caught your attention is a celebrity, and now, suddenly, you freak out. Is this how one is supposed to meet a celebrity?
But you are a digital native, and there is a bigger lesson here. You make a visit a week later just to confirm. You find the host, plugged in, and streaming. He lives online, like you, so there’s no pretending that the art of conversation is what it used to be. You are jealous of his new girlfriend, you want to take her home. She is fast, the way she streams, the way she loads those pages. Suddenly tabs load in full, and fast, and you want her. You think about it, your brains rubs its little, squishy imaginary hands in glee. The perfect crime.
Eventually, she grows towards you. Everyday, while going home, you see her minions building. You stop, once in a while, to imagine the future. The little boy who was chided by his mother for playing NFS on an old computer until the colors faded is going to have 10 Mbps to play with. The boy who got his first modem from his sister, and plugged it into an old, slow computer he had gotten from his brother-in-law in a five-second call. Then he had learned how to make money online, by doing what he knows best. Someone paid him to write, and he used that money to buy bundles, and then he made more and eventually bought a better modem, a better computer. Many years later, that second computer still writes stories and runs its mouth amok in internet circles.
By now, its USB plugs are fry, except one. Modems don’t work anymore. It is quiet as the deathly night too because all its sound died years ago. Three batteries later, a new keyboard, broken hinges, and three external fans later, it remains a loyal friend. It helps you build an entire home of history and random stories, and together you call it Too Late for Worms. You become friends, occasionally separated by parties, parking lots, and traffic jams.
As you drive into the driveway one random afternoon, a girl on skates hands you a Zuku Fiber flyer. Finally! Finally! She comes home, she’s finally home. You bring her home, and sweaty men spend a day moving her to your house. When you find her later, she is ready for you, her fiber is set for you. She knows you, so she lets you connect as soon as you are within range. She comes with TV and a phone, but you like her for the one thing she does best. She is quiet and modest, and you spend that first night getting to know her, finding out what makes her tick. She is strong everywhere, and she thinks faster than you. You have more episodes than you would ever need. You stop downloading movies and watch them online. If there’s a heaven, this must be it.
Home is where the WiFi is.
One Story is good,
till Another is told.