Sunday, January 18, 2009

Earth Shaking

Fifteen years ago, not exactly, but on the Sunday night before Martin Luther King Day in 1994, I stayed up way too late. I was a college freshmen and I had a paper due on Tuesday, so I thought it was a great idea to pull my all-nighter on Sunday night, so I could sleep Monday night.

At 3:30 a.m., I crashed. And one hour later, I woke up, reluctantly, from a deep sticky sleep because other things were crashing. Onto my laptop. This being 1994, laptops were very special and very expensive, even with black-and-white screens, and I woke up to one thought, My father is gonna kill me if something bad happens to my computer. So I tumbled out of bed, heavily, and stood over my laptop holding my arms straight out over my computer to protect it.

Then I heard voices in the dorm's hallway, and I thought, Wow, those people are partying late, even for a three-day weekend. In spite of the fact that I was not at all curious about why things were falling on my laptop, curiosity is nonetheless a big part of my personality, so I abandoned my defenseless laptop and made my way to the door, opened it, and asked the people in the hallway, "What's going on?" As in, why didn't you tell me you were having a party!

They looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "It's an earthquake, Alison."

Oh, well that explained it.

There's not really an ending to this story, other than the fact that the computer survived just fine, and ever since, Martin Luther King, Jr. and that earthquake are inextricably intertwined in my mind.

And that brings us to this particular Martin Luther King Day, which precedes an Inauguration Day that wouldn't be what it is going to be, if it weren't for Martin Luther King. And even though I didn't get Inauguration tickets like I had hoped, I still feel so glad and so lucky that I get to watch this incredible event take place, even on television.

So I just want to say thank you, Dr. King, for all you did, and for all you gave. I wish you could see just how much you, too, moved the world, and in your case, for the better.


Catharina said...

What a fun story! Love your Dad's note! I am so excited about the inauguration tomorrow...

Rowena said...

As a stay at home mom without a whole lot of contact with the outside world, I forget about things like holidays... even ones for one of my heroes. Thanks for the reminder.

And I can't believe you had a laptop way back in 94. Although it makes sense that you would run to protect it in an earthquake.

paintandink said...

My Dad is a (fanatic) early adopter of new technologies, so he gave me the computer as a h.s. graduation gift... and he decided it had to be a laptop, since I would be moving from living place to living place during college.

It cost a small fortune, and had a black and white screen, and a 256MB hard drive. My MscBook has 625 times as much space... and it's small these days!

I was one of only two people I can remember who had a laptop in my dorm, and only a few people had computers at all. Most people had word processors, or used the computer lab.