Twenty years ago, I remember feeling hope.
Was working a shit job doing overnight front desk at a hotel, night audit. Living in my mother’s rented house. Scratching my ankles every day because the carpets were still tainted from the flea bombs we set while moving in nine months prior. Glaring at the daylight streaming into my blue miniblinds as I lay down in the creaking daybed loaned to me because I left my own bed behind in North Carolina. Music and journaling were my only solace as I dazed from one night to the next.
But I had a new purpose. Decided to turn my knowledge of web design into an actual side gig. Accepted an offer from my friend Sandy to build a site for her tattoo shop; stupidly, I underbid and went over time, but in the process I learned the rudiments of tech life. Bought the old front-desk computer from the hotel and turned it into a home webserver and the gateway for my dialup Internet connection. I learned networking. I learned Linux. I learned Perl. I learned Apache. I learned server-side programming. I eventually built Sandy a template-driven website and a CMS that she could manage on her own. I didn’t want requests to upload new pictures or post new text: I wanted to hand her the keys, to give her the power to manage that on her own. That was my gift. That was my drive. That was my purpose.
I had learning. I had hope.
The dotcom thing was building steam, enough that I felt the heat in my backwater hometown. I knew I had to bail, to move to Austin. To increase. To expand. To get into a bigger fish tank. I felt hope.
Later, in July, I did just that. Everything I learned while building her site I used to get my first gig in Austin. But in March, I was just learning, just experimenting, just reaching outward and putting my head deep into it to find what made it all work.
I remember it. Twenty years ago, I felt hope.
But what do I feel now? What can I feel now?