Editorial Note: However cliché it may be, I have to point out that this post was first written on two sides of a (thankfully unused) barf-bag on a plane.
On a recent flight from one boring city to another, I had a minor revelation. As we took off and gained altitude, I had a clear view of the airport runway layout below. Rather than fascination and intrigue, I though instead of a familiar landscape I had seen out the cockpit of a Cesna years before. That scene, though, had been rendered by the 20MHz 486sx in my parent’s old Packard Bell (more specs). I had a short stint where I played (if you could call it ‘playing’) Microsoft Flight Simulator (something I’ve been thinking of getting into again).
What struck me about this association was that a real-world situation reminded me of something I had first [Editorial Update: flip over barf-bag] encountered digitally (I refuse to use the word “virutally”). The similarity didn’t lead me to think of how well Microsoft’s digital representation reflected the actual scene. Rather, I was struck by how much the real thing looked like the digital version. The difference is subtle, but significant. I had encountered the digital version first — the digital version was my original.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. A few years ago, I accompanied a friend to a December church service at a small country church. In a brilliant display of showmanship, they brought in real live sheep for part of the dramatization of the Christmas story. The sheep let out the quintessential sheep ‘bleat’. I turned to my neighbour and exclaimed with genuine surprise and wonder that “Those sheep sound like sheep on TV!”.
I suspect this will only happen more and more frequently. What have you encountered in the real world that felt secondary to the digital?