My Digital Reality

(originally published in Hobo Pancakes)

Day 1

I love gadgets. That is, anything high-tech, cutting-edge. I keep up on all the latest developments in Silicon Valley. My blog is state-of-the-art, monitoring the newest innovations on the technological frontier. Needless to say, I am plugged in 24x7!

I work at a company called DigiGrab, and we are one of the leaders in the field. I am testing a new digital camera, as part of a beta program for one of our vendors. I take pictures with this new camera, and the cool thing is, whatever I take a picture of disappears, replaced only by the digital photo in my camera! If I delete that photo, it is like the subject never existed!

Day 2

I took the digital camera to the art museum. Unfortunately, there were some other people in the gallery. It seems that they wanted to just look at the art, to linger over it. They were in my way, preventing me from getting a clear shot. Eventually, I managed to weave my way through, and I got some direct lines at the paintings. Indeed, as soon as I clicked the shutter button, the paintings disappeared, replaced only by the image in my camera. I was excited about the beta program results we'd be reporting to the upper-level management at DigiGrab!

I had been patient, but the people continued to get in my way. I had told myself I wouldn't do this, but couldn't resist taking the picture of a particularly loud, obstructive man. As with the paintings, he quickly disappeared. I took pictures of others: that languorous woman in a hat, the hyperactive child with a popsicle, the badgering senior citizen in a wheelchair, the lemur that had wandered into the museum and was clawing at my leg. They all vanished, reappearing only in the view screen of my digital camera. I reviewed their images, and, finding them disagreeable, deleted them to my camera's trash bin.

I left the museum and walked down the street, taking pictures of some of the exciting new gadgets and electronics in the store windows. When I got home, I snapped a shot of my fruit bowl, which soon disappeared into the camera. My curiosity got the best of me, and I had my wife take a picture of me in front of my house. The camera executed flawlessly, causing me and my house to disappear, replaced only by a digital photo and an empty dirt lot, where the house used to be. I sent a text message to my wife's smartphone: "I am surrounded by the subjects of my digital photos: great paintings, the people from the museum who had annoyed me at first, but now have become good friends, the lemur chewing on my leg, the electronic gadgets, the pears from my fruit bowl. I like it better here in the digital universe." And indeed I do.

Day 3

Inevitably, the batteries of the digital camera started to run down. My wife elected not to recharge them. She viewed my image one more time on the camera view screen, but the power flickered, and I slow..ly....wen...t........a....wa...y............

Day 4

Now I'm in the middle of nothing. Not even a cold, dark speck of dust. Just desolation, a void, an extinguishing spark of zero. Blankness rises from the east, disintegration appears from the west. The winds blow emptiness right and left. I set up a little stand in the midst of nothingness. The stand has nothing to offer, nothing to sell. It is desolate, in the middle of null. A cloud drifts up to my stand, and I ask it if it has any batteries.

"No, but I like your minimalist aesthetic," says the cloud, before vanishing back into the nothingness.

I stare out into the barren emptiness, and feel pleased. This is the way I like it. Nothing has happened yet. It's all new, free, clear, except for the lemur chewing on my leg, it is always there. My identity is a blank slate that I can redefine. I await a new technology.