Kinetically it’s hard to imagine an experience less like typing than riding a horse. But for millennia horses were the best way to move; then highways, now superhighways. When the internet and I were millennial adolescents I thought riding and typing were the best ways to be free.
Real freedom is always specific and spasmodic, which is why forums were the best part of the old web.
On horses you could fly until you got or fell off. On forums you could do anything that occurred to you, inside tiny parameters, until you logged off. My favorite was a Something Awful-esque destination I can’t bring myself to dox, populated by people with obsessions I didn’t much share—my obsession was with them.
Like most pleasures it was a problematic mess. Motives were murkier before money and power really dripped in, distilling the virtual; personal stakes were nailed low around an intricate Versailles of daedal inside jokes. Now everyone lives inside the algorithmic-slick blues of the monosites and sometimes when scrolling them I think about the heat death of the universe: the chill of the totally quantified. Of the primary colors, #996633 is mainly red. It’s dirt, skin, things alive. It’s my old mare’s coat and the smallest unit in American change, which was also her name.