Nostalgia is just stunted ambition. Nevertheless, of late, with the world ending, we have been getting very nostalgic about our past. But, for people of our age, cough, 40s cough, what a dull past it has been.
Our parents would have got nostalgic about big things. About moon landings, rock and roll.
Us? We have old BBC micro computers, Spectrums and Amstrads. Our parents had the pill and rock ‘n’ roll. The beatles and sex. We had POKE and BASIC. How do you compare?
And yet, and yet, nostalgic is universal. It cares nothing about the artifacts of the times in which the afflicted live. It thrives only on how little time is left. And, as we age, we do get affected by it more and more.
We are getting obsessed with old computers. This morning, we fired up this beaut, stunned all the files on there had remained exactly as we had left them:
Opening this is like time travel. Going back to old photos, old code, things we thought critical. All just frozen in time in memory. Clicking on ‘current’ we see code with filenames like latestv2, whydoesnthiswork.
The desktop, 10 years on, retains nothing of the urgency we felt. The folder called important is for invoices for things we have lost, or are notes for things we don’t remember. All the code in ‘shipped’ won’t work now. It still compiles on my applications on that old computer, but even the websites we downloaded the applications from have gone from the internet. Gone where? Who knows where old data goes?
Is this all we have? Our parents have nothing tangible of those times, but rich memories. We live with gruel of memory, but have plastic. Our children will have no memories except digital ones.