Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You are in a Dark Room...

"You are in a Dark Room. You sense there is only one exit."

Thus we wrote on the front of the card announcing the birth of our baby daughter, Megan Aisha Elisabeth Carels.

The way this text is written, as much as the text itself, is a reference to some old-skool computer games; Text Adventures like Zork, maze games like NetHack and Paganitzu. Often these fledgling adventures would "set the scene" in their introduction with a phrase like this.

Like the player in one such adventure, Megan has no notion of what lies ahead, no idea of what will be required of her, and whether there will be a cool prize when she reaches the finish (or if there will be a finish at all...). She will be embarking on her grand adventure, learning as she goes along, finding new depths and new intricate, interwoven, storylines at every turn. Hopefully ever-curious to explore and discover each of them.

But right now, she has just emerged from the dark room, and, proverbially, still blinking in the bright sunlight, is busy just getting to grips with reality around her.

Megan's parents grew up and "matured" (more or less) alongside the technology that enabled those old adventure games. Simple, text-based, things at first, but evolving into ever more complex and intricate epics.

For them too this is a reference to a new adventure that is to begin. Or at the least the latest and grandest twist in their ongoing adventure so far. One quite unlike any they've encountered before. One, that will make all the adventures before it seem like mere scratchings on the surface. Or so we are assured by legion of other players, who seem to be collectively unable to be any more specific on this claim.

So both Megan and her parents at this point have no idea of the story ahead of them, or even the new  "interface" it came with. Though I feel this is not something we should be scared of. Indeed, to stick with the computer game analogies, a long, long, time ago, when my father got some new game on the old C64, it was my "job" to figure out how it worked and in turn explain it to him. To figure out the unknown, to find what "makes the world tick".

Like I hope Megan will face the world with an eagerness and outgoing curiousity, so I hope we will be eager and curious about getting to know her.

In many ways, how I feel about this moment, is perhaps best captured by a quote from Dr. Seuss's "Oh the places you'll go"[1].

They're the last lines, from his last book. And you can kind of imagine them fitting as you, the adventure player, exit the proverbial Dark Room.

They say...

"You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So... get on your way!"