Right now the virtual world is blowing up with news of Steve Job’s death at 56. Twitter is abuzz, Facebook statuses are updating to share the news and sentiments.
I am here wondering why I feel so sad.
I didn’t know Steve Jobs. But I feel like I have lost someone special in my life.
The first computer I ever touched was an Apple IIe. It was part of a bank of computers in a special room in elementary school where we could spend a few moments playing educational games. The graphics were sparse, the soundtrack just beeps and buzzes. But those experiences touched me.
As an adult working in newsrooms and communications departments, Macs became synonymous with creativity and efficiency. The familiar boot-up sound meant it was time to start the day.
Soon, I’d flip open my MacBook, click on iTunes, and browse the Internet on Safari. Apple had become ingrained into my workspace and into my life.
My iPod–though now it is five years old–gets me through bouts of cleaning the house and accompanies me on long runs through my neighborhood and trails. I can’t work in the kitchen without listening to my music on “shuffle.” I can’t imagine being able to function without it.
No, I did not know Steve Jobs. But he knew me. He knew us all, what we ultimately wanted–smart technology with a sleek design. We wanted innovation. We wanted to be wowed.
He was not a leader in the sense of Martin Luther King, Jr. or John F. Kennedy. When they died, people remember where they were and what they stopped doing when they heard the news. There was national mourning.
I am seeing that unfold tonight. People recognize Jobs’ contributions to our lives and his ingenuity and leadership. He touched us deeper than probably any of us knew until this moment, when all at once we feel a collective sadness and gratuity for all he did.
So, thank you Steve Jobs. You had me at Apple IIe.
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