Steve and his Email

Looking at an email complete with its history is very odd. On a Friday it reaches his desk across the computer network. When it arrives it announces itself with a sound like rain. It's been across five or six desks before it finally arrives at his. Curiously Steve cannot tell where else it has been because he is just the current node on this trajectory. Other routes are impossible to follow, all you can say is that on this trajectory it arrived on his virtual desk on a Friday morning.

But still Steve not only reads email but also goes over onto the other side and writes it. He is continually surprised at how perversely complicated the process of understanding things is. Its not that things are that difficult, abtruse or dense, (a horrible concept `dense' Steve thinks). But that Steve tends to scrutinise words like a Kudu looks at a lion just before it pounces, with a mixture of fear and surprise. Sometimes if he's lucky he gets a chance to hold them in his hands and to get reasonably familiar with them before accepting and deciding on there colour, texture, sound and intelligability. Because usually there is a dirty pane of glass or plastic between the words and him, especially dirty because of his tendency to smear the screen with his fingers, particularly on those mornings when he buys an iced bun from the sandwich man who arrives around ten with his pseudo-countryside picnic hamper, washed down with an espresso from the departmental coffee machine which is filled up by the evening ghosts who come round and empty his blue waste paper bin. How do they know not to touch his desk or chair he wonders ?

Anyway sometimes he rereads the text and if its still abtruse an explosion and then the flight of the paper or whatever text against the wall or into the bin with a thump or rustle of paper.

When Steve's reading of text ends in that unsatisfactory way he asks what happened in the passage which he found un-understandable between the addressor and the addressee ? It's hard to know, because after all nobody asks him that question of his own sendings and so as complex as his reading may have become and the more that he questions, the more abstract his own understanding tends to become...... After a particularly complex and abtruse email it does not occur to him to check the validity of the coming and whether the going is happening without major problems. Actually he cares nothing for his readers but reckons that the text is for itself, and that this is enough to ensure that the going takes place without major obstacles.

Steve doesn't care about the individual position or perspective of the readers, because he believes in a wierd multiplicit measurement that fits like a Dolce and Gabbani suit and that's why it isn't necessary to give ground in either the coming or going, between him and the other. The bridge between them is as long as what is written, which is born of some sexual experience and not grafting on the stem of some plant left behind by Kafka, Skeet or Gibson. In his more delirious inventions there is always something that is not so simple, more perverse than architecture by Rudolph Steiner. It's not a matter he muses of writing for others but for ones-self, but self is also for others; so obvious that its makes the writer suspicious. Perhaps a little micro-fascistic in the collaboration between sender, message and receiver (especially when the point of origin is his boss, whom he privately thinks of as being the sister of Servalan).

Steve strokes the word receiver beneath his fingers and characters and words appear on the white screen, the uncertainties written into the Netscape mail and since it's there in range just before he finishes his stroking of keys, writing what he reads, reading what he writes, more code conversion than his fetishistic Lamy pen can manage in a good day in a soho cafe listening to live Jazz on a Thursday afternoon with an anonymous American visting Sybase from Paris when they cancelled the software product the day before..... what the fuck. He points the mouse and clicks on the send icon.

Steve de Vos - London October 1996

Steve, talks to some salesmen

Steve, travels from work

Steve, his battles with management

Introduction to the Hypertext Novel

Back to Outwork 1