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The Tour

by Anna Jonsson

The room wasn't at all what would be considered appealing. Had I not been interested in the historical part, I would have left right then. The atmosphere had what the guide called "Glare". Although the room was large, there were but two lonely computers in a corner. There were posts that designated where the tour was supposed to be. I had to picture in my mind what it looked like filled with people and more computers. It wasn't easy.

"This is a workroom. In the late twentieth century, hundreds of computers would be wired here. This room dates back to about when the Internet and World Wide Web were started up," the guide explained. That really must have been old. Even my grandparents probably had used newer computers when they were young. I didn't really care about the other facts, though. I wanted to see how such an old computer could work.

The group moved forward. I found myself tiptoeing to see above the broad shoulders of the adults. All the tall people seemed to be stationed in front of me. The guide stopped and gave us a moment to absorb the artifacts. I don't think anyone on the tour had seen a model as old as this except through pictures on our own computers.

"These two computers were used worldwide. They were recently found and rescued from a landfill. We have actually been able to start one, and have been able to get it to function."

The computer started, and soon I could tell that it would be an incredible disappointment. It was slow even starting up. Maybe people had more time to wait for things like this back then.

It had a few functions, but I had lost interest. The word processor required a keyboard which made working slow. The guide told us that "typing" required special skills. There was something hooked up called a mouse, and you had to reach with your hand to navigate the screen. It would have been strange not to be able to just tell the computer where you wanted the mouse to go. There were other flukes, too. Like you had to put in something called a disc for extra files. I supposed that people probably didn't depend on computers as much back then.

I began to think what it might have been like with no great dependency on computers. It was at this moment when I wished that I lived in the 1900's. This was a time when people got along. How wonderful it must have been to drive a car through a crowded intersection, to wake up with the sun and step outside into the cool morning air. It must have been great to go to school or work, or to buy groceries at a supermarket. How great to screw in a light bulb. Back then there was time for the details of life. Life became too complicated with computers. Food, work, and even light from a solar chip would be cut off if our main BioProcessDuplex 2 computer crashed. And if it didn't crash it could be re-altered, metamorphasized, or shuffled. That was just what was at the top of my mind.

But as I began to think of the problems of my life, the crowd moved forward. Our time was up.
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