How is it that one can bond so well with a machine? It’s not as if it is a person with likes and dislikes, habits and vices. It does not comfort you when you’re down, laugh at your jokes or feel pride in your accomplishments. It’s just there, humming away, day after day, measuring the moments you spend at your desk, typing your thoughts, teaching it new tricks. Maybe it’s like a dog in that respect, but not really. Sure it runs with you and likes to play fetch, but it only heeds to your requests, it does not desire them. A machine does not love you back like a pup. It does not wait longingly for your return and give you wet lapping kisses.
Still it is possible. It does happen. I know it to be true. I have a special bond with my machine, a connection, a link. There is an understanding between us, even if the only mind is my own, the only words from my lips, but we communicate on some level, sharing truths and telling lies. How could I not, when we have spent most of my life together, working alongside each other, day in and out, when I can hardly remember the time before we met, before I learned how the NAND gates flipped or the accumulator summed, before I knew how the electrons aligned or how the clock set the pace. I know this machine so well, this wafer of silicon in a jacket of steel that I’ve tweaked, upgraded, modified and patched.
I know that a special bond exists between me and this machine, because it stands in stark contrast with my inability to bond with any other device. I’m at one with electrons and bytes, but all thumbs when it comes to anything else. I exist in technological monogamy, mated early on to only one way of life. That’s how I found myself yesterday, on a cool spring morning, with the sun beaming down and the sounds of activity a buzz in the front-yards and back, standing defeated at the door of my garage, arms sapped of strength and brow full of sweat, before a small wheeled machine with a motor that’s gassed.
Humbled like a noob.