Single White Nerd: A Declaration to ‘K’
Last night I woke up on my couch, crusty eyed and drooly chinned. For a moment I forgot that you were there. Then I felt you, cradled in my arms. Your graceful curves against my finger tips, responsive to my touch, ready to calm my troubled soul with a soft flow of words. I felt you and knew that, though I have resisted your seductions for months if not years, I knew that I loved you. I do. I love you, K. And I kind of hate myself for it.
K, you represent the death of some of my fondest childhood memories. The satisfaction of reaching the final page of my first novel–”The Fragile Flag,” a 400 page behemoth that I don’t remember much about apart from the number of pages and the crinkle of its cellophane cover as I read–and slamming the cover shut. Hours spent sitting on the floor of The Cheshire Cat bookstore surrounded by stacks of books, different shapes, sizes and smells. Oh, and the smell. The bookstore smell–ink, paper, and dreams. Running my fingers along the deckled edges of old books. Or new books trying to look old. The thrilling guilty feeling that comes with picking up a light-weight, cheaply printed trade paperback instead of the prestigiously heavy work of Important Literature.
You can’t replace any of that, K. And you know what: you’re ugly. You are. Your viewing screen is too small. You have a keyboard. Why? As a piece of modern technology, you’re already antiquated. No touch screen? Black and white? Come on, K. What can you possibly offer? How is it that I’ve come to love you in so short a time?
Last week you arrived in your plain, unremarkable brown box. I plugged you in with a faint sense of buyer’s remorse and, even as your battery charged, I looked into returning you for a refund. A refund that I could apply to real books. But then you finished charging. I pressed three buttons. Two files–I won’t even call them books–popped onto your screen. And I started reading.
That’s when it happened. As soon as words appeared on your pathetically undersized screen. The patented e-ink technology and non-backlit screen approximating parchment. With the click of a button, the page turned with a quick wink, a brief blackout as if to say “see, I’m a machine, but you love me anyway.” I quickly became addicted–clicking page after page, my eyes scanning the words. I started not to mind your small screen. Your stupid keyboard disappeared. You became a window, a virtual passage into any number of worlds. I scampered back and forth from modern day Sweden to early 20th Century England with the press of a button. You handled the transition seamlessly. You fit into my hands as if you’d been there all along.
So, K–and let’s just dispense with the dramatics and call you by your name–Kindle. Kindle, I love you. And I know that you won’t mind if, every once in a while, I set you aside and go to a bookstore. A real one. With real books. I probably won’t buy anything (have you seen book prices recently. . .Jesus), but I will pick up the tomes, surreptitiously sniff them, and run my fingers along their edges. I’ll let the comforting sensations and memories wash over me. And then I’ll take you into some corner cafe and have my way with you. In fact, I think I’ll do that right now.
Photo Credit: dinglemunch