Regular Memory

The Rectangle Machine

He began calling it the rectangle machine for two reasons. One, the body of the device featured a rectangular screen set into a rectangular body, and, two, the screen rendered images by toggling power to an array of smaller rectangles.

He had been interacting with the machine for a handful of years until one day, during a routine assignment, in which he was tasked with changing the value of some numbers in a grid of cells, he stumbled upon a dot on the monitor. He examined the dot closely as he had never seen the rectangle machine produce a dot exactly like this one before. Countless times he had seen dots on the machine, but this one was clearly different. The common dots would alway be immediatly be followed by a space; and sometimes, other observers would point to the space after the dot and suggest that another space be added. For safety, he had always assumed. Until now, he had gotten quite used to seeing a space after a dot.

An hour later, as he walked to the cafeteria, he continued to think about the dots. He usually though about numbers or sometimes equations, but today his mind fixated on dots. Around and around the circumference staring blankly into the middle; he entered the cafereria, but his mind was still back in the room observing the dots.

Over dinner, he listened to the murmur of conversation from nearby tables. He wanted to mention his observation of the dots to those nearest to him, but he didn’t know the others that well, and he was not sure he would be able to explain the dots. He wondered if the others had also seen the dots, but something about the way they smiled so freely, the casual pace of their gait as they walked; these things told him they didn’t know.

He spoke with a supervisor at the next opportuniy. This supervisor knew a lot about the machines, and so he though the supervisor might also know about the dots. The supervisor did know about the dots; the supervisor knew what they were called, and the supervisor implied they were useful for certian task. But he had never been assigned these kind of tasks before. The supervisor did not recommed looking more into the dots.

What other secrets did the machine hold, he leaned forward to observe in more detail the bright rectangles that made up the images. For the first time, as the glow of the monitor intensified on his face, he felt as though he was looking through the screen to observe some back room that the machine contained. In all his years observing the machine, why haddn’t he or anyone around him realised there was something behind something more than just an infinitely thin screen of entertaining images.

His further observations led him to discover that the dots were part of a language. He came to understand this new language and found it allowed him to much more efficiently accomplish many tasks he was assigned. When he shared his observations with others around him who had similar tasks, they seemed to be disinterested or unable to understand what he was showing them. He would bring them close to the screen to show them the dots, and he expected their expression to light up as his did the first time, but, he would instead find a shadow cast over their face, and they would pull away; as they left the room, he would watch them from behind a screen: a screen through which they seemingly could never pass.