Google released thirty custom themes for Gmail yesterday. Finally, I have something else to choose from besides the boring blue and white look I was stuck with for years. After playing with them for a few minutes, I set my mine to the “Terminal” theme.
Terminal theme as its name implies, makes Gmail look like the DOS prompt. I instantly fell in love with this theme and I can’t explain why. Well I sort of can, because of the geek in me. It reminded of my freshmen year in high school, when my parents bought me my first computer, after much begging, bribing, and threatening. It was an IBM compatible 386mhz beast with 4 mb of RAM, 120mb hard drive.
I spent all my free time starring at its pretty black screen and green text. I mastered the art of memmaker and had different sets of autoexec.bat and config.sys files for different programs. By programs, I mean games, a lot of games. Of course, it was more than a gaming machine. I typed my first school paper on it, made my very first graphic, logged onto my first BBS etc.
Back to the Terminal theme. After using it for five minutes, I couldn’t stand it. Nostalgia wore off quickly and my eyes started watering. Also a command prompt interface that allows mouse clicking felt very odd to me.
I don’t think I ever missed the black screen + green text screen. What I truly miss, is my high school years. It was a simpler time when I didn’t have to worry about mortgage, bills, kids, insurance etc. Isn’t that what nostalgia really is? It’s rarely about an object, but what that object is associated with. We always have a place in our hearts for things that are retro. Like how cars become boxy, then round, then boxy again; How a mother insists that her daughter wears her old wedding dress; How we love Polaroid photos, especially now it’s discontinued; How we buy our children toys we used to play when we were kids. Perhaps being nostalgic is a way to provide some comfort when we weave through an increasingly hectic life.
I went back to the “Classic” theme.