Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

The Wireless Era

As I noted in yesterday's long entry, I have visited the Carlsbad-Leucadia-Encinitas corridor in northern San Diego County many times in the past eleven years. My memories of those trips are broken into different segments, to a degree, in keeping with what was going on in my life at the time. But the biggest fracture, what I like to think of half-seriously as an "epistemic break" in the sense Foucault pioneered, is the one that divides the pre-laptop, pre-wireless, pre-blogging part of my life from the mode of traveling I commenced in February, 2004, on my first trip to Louisville, Kentucky.

I used to think that September 11th, 2001 would hold on to its status as the biggest rupture in my life after moving to Tucson. It certainly was momentous for me, pushing me in a direction that had dire consequences for me both personally and professionally. When I'm here on the Southern California coast, however, what stands out most forcefully is not the aftermath of that international tragedy -- see Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. -- but the difficulty of remembering what it was like to go on vacation without seeking out places where I could post commentary on my vacationing.

Right now, for example, I'm sitting in the Starbucks attached to the Encinitas Barnes & Noble, where I've come many, many times since 2004 in order to post updates and, before I had a smart phone, check e-mail. Indeed, pretty much the only reason I've come here is for the wireless. There are numerous strip malls and intersections in this area that I know only because I was searching for free wireless access. Even the old trailer park -- a gentrified one, as you might imagine -- across from our campground at South Carlsbad State Beach is a place I know well because I would drive around its streets in search of a signal. It's a strange kind of mapping, somehow both impersonal and the result of deep personal investment.
Tags: autobiography, history, technology
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