The Windows XP login jingle chimes and fills me with a cool wave of anxiety and depression. My professor exclaims how someone stole his laptop out of his office so we had to use the classroom computer. After booting up a very old version of QuickTime, he loads an ancient Harvard Business School simulation. It has many built-in videos from the early 90s or perhaps even the late 80s – an executive putting a golf ball around his office while wearing one of those horribly baggy suits with a hideously colored shirt that was so popular at the time. The footage was grainy. The audio had the faintest echo. Every sentence was peppered with the dated business buzzwords and jargon of the time.
I started thinking of vaporwave, Arizona iced tea, Fiji water, and Polo Ralph Lauren. Then it grew darker – run down Blockbusters, empty malls at closing, the slightly chemical smell of the popcorn at the AMC theater chain, seas of grey concrete parking lots scattered with greyscale Japanese cars. It is cloudy but not rainy. You see a family a ways away, the child is wearing cargo shorts with a shirt that has a flame graphic on it. Maui Jim sunglasses. White socks and sketchers. Millions of dead products piled underground in a landfill off the side of a crumbling interstate. Polyester and rayon blend suit. Crushed Honda civic. Dead computer monitors piled in a junkyard in India