Fourteen years ago, I used the internet on my own computer, rather than at a friend’s house or at school. That same cable that ran from my PC’s internal 56kpbs modem to the phone outlet all those years ago now lies at my feet, running from the phone jack on my router to the upstairs phone outlet.
It’s seen two different Ethernet Routers, one USB modem and two internal dial-up modems.
If the copper wires within the plastic sheathe could talk, how many tales could it tell? Of content downloaded, games played, conversations typed, creativity uploaded.
Would the history of it clog the sorority of wires hidden underneath their plastic coating, if data could crystalize and lost packets swell into information stalagmites after a steady drip over the milliseconds of connectivity?
How many more years can it last, acting as my pathway to the nerves of the world? Is there a chance of it becoming obsolete before it finally fails at some weak point whittled away in its duty, running across floors to that pallid white block on the wall?
What songs could it sing? From crackly .wav files and chippy MIDI sequence files to .mp3 and .ogg. Somewhere in that mass of cable is there those radio sections from a Japanese radio station that I have ferreted away on an old hard drive somewhere in the mass of media dotted around my room, at least in some small fragment trapped within?
For all the joy my computers have provided and modems sought, I never gave much thought to the cable that allowed it all. Except when something went wrong and I suspected the wire of coming unplugged.
So here’s to you, length of wire. What’s the point of an ISP or an internet browser if you weren’t there to bridge the gap between my rural byway and the information super-highway?