13 YEARS OLD AND IN THE 7TH GRADE
The exact moment in which the Internet finally begins to speak I am there, listening. I am standing there with my hand on it. Next to the computer, it is mine.
The moment that the Internet begins to speak I am there because I am the first one speaking. I am entering, I am deleting, I am browsing through the secret and it's only 1997.
I am standing in the hallway of my parent's house.
The secret says GO OUTSIDE.
In 1997 strange television shows began appearing suddenly on television. My brother and I watched them alone because they only came on when no one else was home. The strange television shows would show animals that were like people that were like animals. The shows were always very calm like nothing was very wrong but then someone would begin weeping. The other animals would begin to weep and then everyone would hide and wait somewhere else, hidden like a camera, somewhere down a hallway, next to the computer.
(By 1997 nobody knew just how depressed the PBS programming staff had become. A caveat arrived from Human Resources stating complaints that the Programming Staff only sat around shivering. The Programming Staff had been radically damaged by the Internet.)
My parent's house did not have a hallway. It was the only house where each room led to every other room. When you walked in there was the living room and then the kitchen and then my room. There was no hallway because we did not have a computer. It was 1997 and we still did not have the Internet. I had saved up a pile of AOL disks. 500 minutes of browsing through the secret. But we couldn't even afford a hallway. And so we stayed up to watch the strange television shows on PBS instead.
What the secret says that's what I do. And when it begins to speak to me it says, GO OUTSIDE.
I obey -- there is the sun. There is the dog, there is the grass.
There is no Internet.
There was no hallway to take us to it and my brother and I could sense a paralysis of the modern.
There was an urge with no name. The urge was something like the need to click on something. Or to enlargen some kind of an image. We could feel it even on the useless acreage where we lived. Our dogs kept dying. The television shows got stranger. Finally, we left the house after a television talk show host gunned down his entire studio audience.
It was the end of an old secret.