The other night at a meet and greet of writers, over wine, cheese, and a post-institutional marching (sic) band, I was comparing travel notes with a woman about Eastern Europe before the change. She told me how her hosts in East Germany (a country at the time) had procured each of the tiles on the walls of their one bathroom through a network of smugglers in the West. As if to show that through a wall designed to keep them in, they had tiled a wall on connections that snuck through. We marveled at how economic webs and networks have served societies long before the web and the internet.

How easily we forget, sometimes, that what fascinates us about the new is only an angled reflection of what we already do.

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