It’s a random night in January.
I’m walking along Sal’s major highway – the one that extends along the island’s longitudinal axis like a vein.
I’m headed towards Santa Maria, at the southernmost end of the island.
The road is smooth and empty. Population here is low relative to land area, so the road is usually empty at any given instance in time – as far as the eye can see.
I enjoy playing dreamy surreal songs from Wildlight while walking along this road at night. Autograf too. I like their music too for stuff like this.
I walk along the edge of the road as it wraps over a hill. On a good hill you can see the edges of the island. During the day.
I think it’s an interesting feeling: Standing on a highway and being able to see the water lapping against different shores delineating the island. It makes you much more keenly aware that you’re really just standing on a piece of land surrounded by water.
Any piece of ground anywhere on the planet is a part of an expanse of land surrounded by water, but it’s just never really something you’re very conscious of- until you’re staring at the different edges of the stretch of land you’re standing on.
I’ve just come across someone. A guy. He’s about the same age as I am. Thereabouts.
There’s a tall structure off the highway. A little into the desert. I’m not sure what it is. It looks like something in-between a lighthouse and a telecommunications mast.
I think I was walking towards it out of curiosity when I came across him. He works security there. He’s on a night shift.
We talk for a bit. He’s from the Gambia I think.
There’s something of a language barrier, so we can’t communicate extensively. We spend some time hanging out in his living quarters. It’s a small room at the base of the tall structure. We’re talking about Santa Maria, and watching some Youtube videos on his phone.
It’s strange seeing technology from the perspective of an insider-somewhat. To a lot of people an app is really just a name that they generally associate with the emotions they experience from using it.
And the company behind the app, the people who build are maintain it, are really just this nebulous, extra-terrestrial and omniscient “They”. “The YouTube people”, “The Google people”, etc.
I recently spent about a year living in Silicon Valley, and so that gave me something of an insider perspective into apps and software technology in general. There’s the insider perspective you get from learning about how the tech works, and there’s the social dimension you get from living in a place that’s renowned for software development.
The people behind the apps are neither nebulous, nor extra-terrestrial, nor omniscient. They’re people. Like everyone else. Things that generally happen to people also happen to them.
At some point I feel like I should head back on the road. I mention that to him. We talk a bit more as we head out of his quarters.
He looks like he could use some company on his solitary nights shifts. He also seems to miss his family back in The Gambia.
We exchange our goodbyes and I head out into the night.
Image: Hanging off some weathered rocks somewhere on the western edge of Sal island.