bit-tourist n.

A person inclined toward associative meaning making through the use of web based search engines via the internet, particularly related to visual image searches. Bit, n. Binary Digit (unit of information in computers) 1948 (a word coined by J.W. Tukey), short for bi(nary) d(igit), and tourist, person who makes a tour, especially for pleasure. adj.  Slang (Americanism), costing 25 cents, inferior or unimportant; small time: a two-bit actor.

The sound of rubber souls on empty rubber lined corridors. Canvas school bags strewn behind metal and concrete lockers, damp anoraks and acrylic winterwear stuffed into the gaps and corners. Muffled acoustics of learning closed away behind black doors labeled with a letter and a number. The A Block.  Science and Languages. The D Block. History, Geography and Languages. They tug at their jumpers, purposefully, self-consciously. Two out of class, ducks in a row behind Teacher who knows where the knowledge is.  Their faces are hard to make out.  It’s one foot at a time. Teacher is excited, as if not used to the interest. The two were interested in the knowledge. Where the knowledge was. Down the well it seemed. Down in the place the darkroom used to be. The D Block. Never knew it even had a darkroom. The information, the resources, packed away into tiny inconspicuous rooms under lock and key – not time in the timetable to find ways to implement or activate these dusty innovations, sticky with disuse. Teacher had found a place for the knowledge. The Well. Suitably placed in the darkroom in Geography. History could be heard belting out a personal tale about the Cuban Missile Crisis, the personal story of a girl crouching in a dorm room under beds. History came to life in that Chapter. Teacher unlocked the black door, the letter and the number. It was dark. The rubber souls shuffled in, shoulder to shoulder. The smell of hair and shampoo and cheap young deodourant.  Uncomfortable but excited, slightly doubtful that the knowledge could exist in such a decrepid and unholy place.  ‘Here it is’, Teacher said, almost breathlessly, meaning this was a joy to behold, to be shared. A privilege. Somehow, the two were in the presence of privilege. The child in the stable came to mind. It must be good. A Square screen sat ontop a desk stuffed underneath with heavy geometric matter and wires. Maps of Ireland and Europe looked down from the walls. Teacher pushed at the square, and a green light came on beside the button. A whirring noise, and clicking of an indeterminate rhythm. The anticipation was great and the heat in the room rose up to wrap around them all. Cheeks became flushed. It became hard to stand. The floor squeaked. They all stared at the screen, at the black,  and the little green light below with the button gave them hope. What would the knowledge look like? How would they know that it was the knowledge? Would they have to ask questions? And what kind of questions? What if they couldn’t put into words the questions they had? How would they speak to the knowledge? Teacher leaned too heavy on the table, peering at the black with a millimeter between glass and nose, pulling back quick when the little globe appeared, all of a sudden, into the centre, spinning – half of the planet visible and half invisible. Spinning. They waited. And waited. And waited. It began to feel like they were in space, looking down at themselves. It got too hot. History had finished the lesson. Feet were moving through the corridors. Time had run out. Teacher said ‘It’s a bit slow today, we’ll have to leave it for now. That’s a pity. But that’s it now, that’s the internet.’ The rubber souls shuffled backwards out of the room. The corridors bright and busy disorientated them. ‘It’ll work the next day. And sure, in the meantime, you can tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll try to find it for you’, Teacher said confidently.  The rubber souls, hot faced and confused nodded and smiled and said ‘okay’, walking almost immediately away, no arrangement really made. Teacher locked the door, the letter and the number. A look of exhiliration spread on his face. The rubber souls wondered what they were missing.

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