Twenty years… A seemingly big, very round number, at least for me.
I can recall several very well-known songs mentioning this timespan:
- «It was twenty years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play», sang four youth idols in 1967 for whom said timespan was not-quite-but-almost their full lifes so far.
- «Si las cosas que uno quiere se pudieran alcanzar, tú me quisieras lo mismo que veinte años atrás» (if what one wants could be achieved, you would love me the same as twenty years ago), says a heartbroken song by María Teresa Vera where she is resigned not to recover the love of a former lover.
- «Volver con la frente marchita, las nieves del tiempo platearon mi sien. Sentir que es un soplo la vida, que veinte años no es nada, que febril la mirada, errante en las sombras te busca y te nombra» (To return, with a withered forehead, the snows of time have silvered my temples. To feel that life is but a wind blow, that twenty years is like nothing, how feverish the look, wandering in the shadows, it looks for you and names you) says one of the best known tangos, written by Carlos Gardel, Fernando Maldonado and Alfredo Le Pera, where the singer returns after 20 years, tired and beaten, but still with some hope of finding his long-lost love.
A quick Internet search yields many more… And yes, in human terms… 20 years is quite a big deal. And, of course, I have been long waiting for the right time to write this post.
Because twenty years ago, I got the mail.
Of course, the mail notifying me I had successfully finished my NM process and, as of April 2003, could consider myself to be a full-fledged Debian Project member.
Maybe by sheer chance it was today also that we spent the evening at Max’s house – I never worked directly with Max, but we both worked at Universidad Pedagógica Nacional at the same time back then.
But… Of course, a single twentyversary is not enough!
I don’t have the exact date, but I guess I might be off by some two or three months due to other things I remember from back then.
This year, I am forty years old as an Emacs and TeX user!
Back in 1983, on Friday nights, I went with my father to IIMAS (where I’m currently adscribed to as a PhD student, and where he was a researcher between 1971 and the mid-1990s) and used the computer — one of the two big computers they had in the Institute. And what could a seven-year-old boy do? Of course… use the programs this great Foonly F2 system had. Emacs and TeX (this is still before LaTeX).
40 years… And I still use the same base tools for my daily work, day in, day out.