The bad thing about these conferences is that so many things happen, that it is hard to keep track of it all. I’m going to try to avoid repeating the information on the conference proceedings, and focus on the personal stuff. One thing that is worth noting is that during the conference I got into a discussion in which I was adamant that it me necessary for some things to be able to edit after posting. The reason for this is that without this ability to retract what one has said, it becomes difficult to post the sensitive and the personal, and that gets in the way of discourse.
I got a call about 2:00 p.m. this afternoon that a coworker of mine who worked with me on distance education had died a few weeks ago. I got into an argument with my wife this evening when she talked on the phone this evening about buying flowers and such. This might sound cold, but I was really annoyed that she was making me deal with that all at once, when I really didn’t want to deal with it all at once.
The one good thing that I’m thankful for is that I called him about two months ago, out of the blue. He seemed to be doing fine then.
This isn’t a good place to deal with that. The thing that I’ve noticed is that I’ve become very useful as a navigator since I know the landmarks around MIT and Harvard. What I don’t think people realize is how emotional a place MIT and Cambridge is for me. It’s where I spent a turbulent four years of my life, and almost every landmark has a memory, sometimes sweet and sometimes painful associated with it. There are a lot of stories here, and one thing that I worry about is that without the freedom to edit and retract, there will be a lot of stories that are never told. This afternoon, I went to the card services office at MIT and got my alumni ID card. It was a small thing, but in some ways it was deeply symbolic since I means that I’ve become reconciled with MIT, which is not a a small thing considering the anger and rage that I felt toward the institute when I left in 1991.
I was about to start to tell one story involving the “fairy princess” but my nerve left me. Maybe later. But it does bring up one question. We are talking about managing 40 TB of digital material for wikipedia. The future will be able to record our lives in excrutiating detail.
What if there is something one wants to forget?