My oldest memory, true or not, is the rattling ceiling of an ambulance. I was pretty young at the time, still clutching my sister’s hand-me-down teddy bear, and I was running an extremely high fever. I don’t know what the doctors did, or what they used, but I got better. So, whatever happened, it’s probably safe to say technology has always played a significant role in my life.
A few years later I’m sitting cross-legged in a sweaty IKEA play pen. My parents are off selecting furniture with silly names and I’m navigating World 1 – 1 in Super Mario Bros. Once that love for gaming was ignited, it was really all I wanted to do. My parents always supported my hobby, but almost never joined in on the fun. I remember passing the controller to my dad once, my right thumb desperate for a breather, because I was physically incapable of hitting the A button fast enough to pass some ludicrous feat of strength in Star Fox Adventures. He bested it after a try or two, and we both sighed in relief as if we’d successfully taken down a mountain lion threatening the homestead.
I remember my Philips CD player; a sleek silver design that was cool to the touch. On a bus ride to an elementary school field trip, I was listening to The Fifth Element soundtrack for the hundredth time. My Sony wrap-around headphones always pinched my ears a little, but I liked how snug they felt. Another kid on the bus swiped the CD case displaying a trio of floating heads and angular starships soaring in the middle distance. I was worried he would make fun of me, but instead he remarked on how cool the individual track titles were. I’ve always wondered if he was just being nice, but you try saying “Badaboom”, “Leeloominai”, or “Korben Dallas” without feeling like some kind of badass cyberpunk seer/opera goddess.
My first car, again a big sister hand-me-down, was an unassuming beige 1998 Toyota Camry. “The coffee stains are included in the base package”, I imagine a salesman saying as I orbit the vehicle, “and, if you really want a treat, I can show you the shreds of Wendy’s French fries mashed into the sliding gears underneath the passenger seat”. I joke, because the car wasn’t pretty, but it was safe and easy to drive. After many years of faithful service to the family, as it was my dad’s originally, we decided to donate it to the local radio station to sell for funding. I took a collage of pictures of that car on its last overcast day in our driveway, and sometimes I look back and can feel the peeling steering wheel slide by my fingers.
Actor/rapper Common has been starring in a series of Microsoft commercials that consists of him looking forcefully at the camera while awe-inspiring images of technology overlay his words. He talks like those sentences formed from jumbled refrigerator magnets: “The future of cloud technology rests within us and all around us; with our own innovation we can communicate, educate, and investigate at the speed of dreams while never letting go of the past because the present is always tomorrow”. I guess that’s what I want Fragmentation to be, chucking memories at the screen and seeing what sticks.