467. Getting Lost

My friends gave me a new computer yesterday. The one I’d had had a little black and white screen, and after several years of having all kinds of trouble with it, I’d gotten to know it. I’d used it to type and to send e-mail. That’s just about all I’d done with it. Before I’d gotten my old one, the idea of even having a computer had scared me. Today, I’m trying to see the old one as a dinosaur. I
think I understand how some people must have felt when the horseless buggy started replacing the horseful one. It was noisy, and looked as if it was going to be a lot of trouble (an impression which turned out to have quite a bit of truth to it). Change – even
improvement – can be scary.
I remember what it felt like to be lost as a child. Sometimes panic took over, and I just wanted someone to come rescue me. I either screamed or stayed totally silent. I guess that depended on whether I thought the attention screaming might attract would make things better or worse – would summon heroes or villains. Sometimes I didn’t want anyone to know I was lost; as scared as I was, I’d rather be lost than be conspicuous. At other times, I didn’t care who knew; I just wanted to
get home to Mommy and Daddy.
I went to college to find myself, but when I got there, I quickly found ways to lose myself. I didn’t lose myself the way some people did – through drugs or alchohol – but I got lost in my own way. I had lived a
very predictable life, but in this new place, I had no bedtime, no imposed diet, and no people who were reliably there for me. It was exciting, but it was scary, too. The college was supposed to act in loco parentis, but the college, to me, was a place, not anything like parents. At least not in the good ways.
When people are born, right away, they’re lost. They go from a dark, warm home to a place that’s blindingly bright, different in temperature, full of strange sounds, sights, smells, and feelings. No wonder so many of them cry. It doesn’t look, at first, as if life outside the womb is going to better than life inside was. Later, maybe it would turn out to be an improvement. And life inside the womb was going to get harder; children grow, and the womb is a fairly small place. And really, there’s not much to do in there.
This morning, my cursor wouldn’t move. At first, I panicked. I wanted my old computer back! Or I wanted to have a live-in computer expert to stay with me all the time until I had gotten to be friends with my new computer. But no expert was there. So I took out my owner’s manual and looked for the solution to my problem. The manual was going to have to be my road map. I pressed whatever buttons the manual told me to press, and the computer restarted, with the cursor moving fine. And I happily found my way home, and wrote this article.

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