Since we moved into our house over two years ago we have had the “family” computer down in the basement, which is great when my metal-inclined teenage son wants to loudly rock from his digital playlist or when I want to combine working out with obsessively checking in on Blogcritics, but it has been inconvenient for a number of other reasons.
Our 5 year-old daughter has become increasingly allergic to the cats — both of whom reside in basement, especially in the winter — now breaking out in alarming hives after just minutes in their lair no matter how much we vacuum and filter the air. And that little computer kid loves her PBSKids.org, so that’s a major issue.
Plus, in our semi-finished basement one is isolated from the outside world save for two little windows at the opposite end of the room so there is precious little natural light, there’s no TV or radio (although we do have a nice stereo hooked up) so I can’t do any live blogging of TV shows, events or movies (and I have come to realize that many times if I don’t blog someting live, it isn’t going to get blogged).
Another major issue is our 15 month-old, who is much easier to entertain, contain, placate upstairs in the general kitchen/entertainment-playroom/eating area, which all flows together into one uber-area where we spend most of our waking time.
After pondering the move for some time, at Dawn’s suggestion we finally broke down and picked up a narrow little computer caddy and made the move to ground level yesterday. We are already finding it very handy to just pop over to the computer in the corner for a moment or two to check up on email, look up annual rainfall on Guam, or in my case just to make sure no disasters have befallen the cyberturf upon which you now stand.
With the computer there, I felt a certain compulsion to comment upon the Fox lineup of The Simpsons, Malcolm and Arrested Development as we watched them last night, but resisted because we were eating, then spending time with the kids while watching, and it would have been really damned rude to do so, so I’ll have to be aware of that. But I can already tell the move will be a great convenience for all, and I won’t have to isolate myself in order to do minor computer tasks at home, increasing my productivity.
I was thinking about all this last night trying to figure out why I felt so disoriented with the new arrangement. Of course there is simple habit: it always takes time to adjust to new patterns and paths. But this felt different from simply rearranging the furniture. After a fair amount of pondering it finally occurred to me that moving the computer was much more like moving a door than moving a couch, table or TV, because the computer — especially with the broadband hookup we have come to take for granted (except when the bitch isn’t working) — is a portal to a different world, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland or Elmo tumbling to Grouchland (pretty great movies, by the way), and access to that world is a fundamental thing for someone who spends as much time and energy in cyberspace as I do.
Jim Morrison and the boys didn’t know it at the time, but their “doors of perception” have become literal, physical things which lead to a world no less real for existing outside our familiar three dimensions.