HALT AND CATCH FIRE was a very little-watched show about brilliant folks navigating Silicon Valley at the beginning of the personal computer revolution, as well as the burgeoning world of the Internet.
There is a lot of strife on display in the show, especially between Joe who is a wanna-be Steve Jobs with severe emotional issues, played by the charismatic Lee Pace, and Cameron — Cam — an exceptional programmer who also has a creative heart. Mackenzie Davis, who embodies Cam, reflects the spark in one’s eyes when they have a revelation. She adeptly conveys the frustration that she constantly feels, partially because of the modern male-dominated tech industry, but also because she does not like to feel boxed in.
Signal to Noise — the second episode of the final season — encapsulates the heart of the show. Its focus is on a phone call between Cam and Joe. Cam calls Joe late at night because of recent life changes. They start talking. Cam falls asleep on her tethered, corded phone without hanging up. Joe stays on the line via his chunky cellular phone until she wakes up in the morning.
When she does wake up, they talk for hours and hours, learning more about each other, feeling each other out and comforting each other.
That’s the underlying theme of HALT AND CATCH FIRE, that technology can be used to communicate and bring folks together in ways that were previously impossible.
I told my wife that she should really watch this episode, despite the fact that she hadn’t watched much of the show previously.
When she watched it, she remarked:
My wife and I first met through friends. It was not matchmaking — she was friends with folks I’d recently met and she was in town for a very short time, but knew she’d return a few months later.
All of us went to an ATARI TEENAGE RIOT show and were showered with Alec Empire’s backwash, which is something you more readily accept when you’re young than say, now.
Matters escalated but not the way you think, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
My now-wife tracked down my phone number via directory assistance, which I doubt you can do now.
I answered the call via a very 90s translucent, candy-colored, nicotine-stained corded phone and we would talk for hours. Not two or three hours, but over ten hours and until dawn, much like Joe and Cam.
We’ve been together for many, many years now. We’ve always worked together, from wrangling bands to putting on club nights, to day drinking while going garagesaling, playing GRIM FANDANGO and SYBERIA together, reading each other’s writing drafts and wrangling fabric and aiding in non-conventional public artworks and even being on TV. We have done a lot together — we have put in a lot of work — and I’m proud of what we have accomplished as partners.
We were married on this very day, ten years ago.
If you’ve read prior posts, you may have noticed that life has been pretty rocky for me these past few years, and not because of the pandemic. (Yes, that didn’t help.) I’ve been dealing with a lot of therapy, a lot of mental processing, a lot of diagnoses, a lot of internal confrontation and recalibration, and a lot of coping mechanisms. Also, my coming out has only added to the emotional weight.
It has been a lot for her to endure. She’s been there for all of it, communicative and supporting and accepting and loving, even if what I’m going through is sometimes confusing.
If it weren’t for her finding me through technology, by calling me up one night, we might have only met that one weekend and never talked to each other again. Instead, through technology, we were able to learn about each other and feel matters out and we’ve been married for ten years now and, hopefully, many more.