Fast Forward

May 13, 2010

Maya tried to change what my Gameboy was doing today by flicking her finger across the screen. She’s already figured out how to use my iPhone and keyboard, though for relatively marginal and sporadically destructive things, but it turns out there’s enough keyboard shortcuts on this thing that she inevitably finds a few of them. Sometimes they’re even things I’ve never seen before and don’t know how to undo, which is exciting.
Maya, six weeks ago I showed you how to climb stairs, one leg at a time. For a month now that’s been easy for you. You’ve already fallen down some stairs too, but a few moments of fussing and you were back to yourself; five minutes later you tried again. It looks like you’ve inherited the stubborn streak both your parents have, which will serve you very well most of the time and extraordinarily poorly at least once or twice.
A few weeks ago after I put you to bed, I spoke to my parents; you’d think this is no big deal, and you’d almost be right, but I spoke to them via Skype, that my mom runs off her iPod and the hotel’s free wifi in Peru. A phone wasn’t even part of the equation. But hey, nothing to it, right? (Is actual external hardware and wifi kind of gross, by the time you can read this? It’s hard to tell.) I probably spent more money on long distance phone calls (audio only, naturally) during university than clothes; these days, having breakfast with your grandmother 500 miles away via video call is something we do three times a week.
The thing that is just killing me here is that by the time you’re eight years old all of this stuff will be so antiquated it might as well be powered by coal. You will take it completely and utterly for granted; pervasive global communication will have been freely available at very nearly no cost for the entirety of your existence.
I think the thing that shocks me the most is that you’ll be entirely in the right.
Your dad might be flattering himself here but he secretly suspects that he’s somewhere up in the top tenth of a percent of the world in terms of understanding how this stuff works, six or seven standard deviations away from your guy in the street, and in truth he’s probably not far wrong. It’s some pretty rarefied air up here. But at some point he will still be struggling to explain to you how miraculous this stuff you’re bored of or annoyed with is.
When I was your age, young lady, when I was your age, the stuff you take completely and utterly for granted wasn’t even science fiction yet. But that doesn’t matter, and it will probably be true for your kids too, and that won’t matter either as long as you can stay on top of it. And that’s really what I want for you, is that you keep climbing.