When I make a purchase, it usually follows a period of long reflection on the object’s highest use. I do not like committing to something without understanding what it was designed to be used for, and then maximizing its potential. Some of my logic extends from a cost-benefit analysis so that I am getting the most for my dollar, the rest comes from the depression of seeing something languish in disuse. The stroller my wife and I bought some years ago has had countless miles put on the axles, despite our initially wrangling over the purchase price versus expected use. Often my motivation for maximizing potential comes after acquiring a product, as I am now committed to making the most of it. Seeing that stroller sit in our garage inspires me to get outside and take my children somewhere. I’ve pushed it over rough surface, walked on paved trails, run with it, and towed it on a bike, using it well within the designed parameters – not just as a luxury carriage. I’ve restrained myself in other avenues, calculating that I don’t need the bigger storage device on a phone, or that I wont be shooting short films when looking for a video camera. When I use a product or tool, I dedicate myself to its highest use.
However, there are exceptions to the rule.
Giterary is one. For Josh, I imagine he often see’s me as the crass, club-handed and hind-brained user. I barge in regretful and angry to have something new and foreign foisted upon me. I mash the keys and balefully wonder what the big problem with a Google doc was. “Why can’t I just copy paste out of an unaddressed email? Google autosaves on the reg, *Josh*, if that’s your real name.” My coauthor foresaw the plethora of deficiencies that would arise from collaborative writing, and sought to rectify them all in advance of our colossal undertaking. He surveyed what was available on the market and determined he could- nay, *should,* summon a work from the primordial ooze of bytes and bits. I nodded along when Josh introduced the concept of the tool, more concerned with getting words on digital paper than his ramblings about *redundancy* and *clarity* and other bullshittery. His constant nattering about *archiving* and *backups* was only cluttering my brain space. I just wanted to get to the story about airships and skywhales.
So Josh took me along by the hand, a disinterested and apathetic co-writer with the attention span rivaling my toddler. While he simultaneously worked on our story and the very palette with which we would chisel it upon, I would make scathingly naive critiques on the nascent UI. I bumblefucked my way through his elegant baby and Josh would solve my problems with nary a nod of objection or whisper of dissent. While I would scrawl my purple utterances in mislabeled documents, Josh was already thinking ahead on how Giterary would scale with our work, creating processes and tools to head off future problems of categorization, timelines and tables. While I would happily mash word after word in the same bloated document, Josh had coded organization and structure in which we could effortlessly create. He built things I didn’t use. Things I don’t use.
But the thing is, he fixes my bullshit. He cleans up my visceral grunting and rambling world building into coherent content. I revisit old wiki-esque entries on our invented calendar or nomenclature concepts and gleefully discover that I can sort an integrated table by different parameters. Did I enter the content properly? Did I ask for that organization? No, but by the All Father Josh thought of it (or was sick of my single carriage return lists) and made it happen.
With a keystroke I can find myself with the minimal input terminal I require. I can search for that mislinked document on concepts for the pilot’s oderic weapon. Most importantly, I can see every minute change to every document we made the mistake of creating. Josh and I are writing this thing together, and he left us a record of every gods damned punctuation change. With a click I can revert to content three years old (and Josh can sigh and redact my editing privileges). He created an amazing, helpful, powerful tool.
A tool I sadly do not appreciate for it’s highest use.