Friday, June 22, 2012

Google & My Mom

Just for the heck of it, I brought up my home town on Google maps, and easily found a satellite photo of my childhood home, which is at the foot of the hill where my mother's current home is situated, which is nearby a strange little house I built, oh, 15 years or so ago, which my mother is now using for storage.

My mother does not use the internet, and I don't think she would be thrilled to know that one can see her back yard on Google.

Just the other day, I glanced at an article about some company that collects information on people, I think it is called Acxiom or something like that. The theme of the article was that we've never heard of them, but they have heard of us. They have probably even heard of my mother, even though she has never had a credit card in her life. I'm sure she has an ATM card, she writes checks, and once she had a mortgage, though it may have been in my father's name alone. So, they may not know a whole lot about her. I'm sure she'd prefer they knew nothing about her.

Now, the little shed. It is what they call a steel arch building. It looks sort of like a quonset hut, but it is made of steel arches, with deep, deep corrogations and they bolt together, so that they are self-supporting. They can be put on a regular foundation, but are normally mounted to a concrete pad. I opted for the foundation so that I could have things like a water pump hidden away beneath it. I built the thing by myself, literally. You're supposed to have about 4 guys build one, though I think 2 could do it. But I did it myself. I was proud of that. Hundreds of bolts to tighten, hundreds of holes to match up, hundreds of potential leaks. It has two of those spinning ventilators on the roof, and they still spin. I lived in it for about 3 or 4 years. I kind of miss the place. As I said, my mother uses it for storage now.

Looking around at pictures on Google Image and at the Google map made me kind of sad... I'm not sure why, perhaps just because of how much water has gone under the bridge by now. A lot has happened since I was a kid in my home town. A lot has happened since I lived in my steel hut.

While it's fun to be able to look this stuff up on the internet, it's also a little strange and discomfiting. You used to have to travel to a library or the hall of records to see such things, and maybe not see this much. But now, without leaving your home or office, you have access to pictures, records, maps, you name it, and for a price, you can have access to almost anything that can be recorded in some fashion.

Yikes.

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