Friday, 1 March 2013

(3) The World Moved On

The world moved on.
The moon landings were a bold audacious first step but a step too far too soon. Expectations were way too high and ambition and ability weren’t equally matched. The media and public soon lost interest when the much anticipated brave new world never really materialised.

Space exploration and technology were no longer "sexy" enough to get any significant media coverage. Out of sight and out of mind, technology carried on its relentless advance. I was 9 years old when in the long hot Summer of 1976 I saw the electronic arcade game Pong. I had never seen a real life in the flesh science fiction futuristic computer, ever. I had seen the future. Over the next few years other games followed with each one improving on the previous. Space Invaders (the Mother of All Arcade Games) arrived when I was just about to start my teenage years. Home computers took off in the early 80s and it seems that I was born in the Goldilocks years at just the right time to be just the right age to experience the dawn of the digital age.

I was always interested in science and technology and eventually I succumbed, turned to the dark side and became a teenage computer geek. Like some kind of techy junky I needed constant fixes to feed my habit. I felt like some kind of teenage alien social outcast trying to feed my secret addiction by scuttling off to watch some documentary on asteroids, computers, volcanoes or some equally forbidden topic that was frowned on. I was weird but I loved it.

Being Welsh is a difficult one to explain to infidel outsiders. You can only truly understand the state of mind that is Welsh if you are in fact Welsh and that means being born, raised and indoctrinated in Wales. I am a product of nurture and nature and I could tell countless stories of events that shaped who I am but I am trying to keep this simple. I don’t want you to lose interest. I know the tambourine playing cats are calling you. In brief, more by accident than design, I ended up being an unfit slightly eccentric sometimes manic, moody, stubborn, Welsh, techy computer programmer with an unhealthy interest in science and technology. There is no known cure.

As a computer programmer, trying to compress my life into a few paragraphs is difficult for me. Writing code and writing stories are normally mutually exclusive but I am not normal. I have stuck with it and tried to untangle my parallel thoughts into a story with some structure with a beginning, a middle and an end but I couldn't figure how to get one relevant item in so I will give up and just put it here. 

In 2004 while driving to work (sorry for mentioning the W word) I saw a sign advertising tandem skydives to raise money for charity and on the spur of the moment I decided to sign up. At the time this seemed like a good idea but I now accept that this was probably a bit of a bad move. I don't like heights or baked beans but I thought a skydive would help me overcome my fear (of heights). It was probably the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I was extremely unhappy by the prospect that my life could end in the next two minutes while I was suspended on the outside of a perfectly good airplane looking down 13000 feet strapped to some guy's chest like some fat trembling back pack in reverse. Eventually the mad bugger jumped and I experienced a silent scream. I still don't like heights or baked beans.

If you are still reading this then jolly well done. You deserve a break.