It’s all changing and it’s all changing so fast

by david

In our office/guest room, I’ve got two tall wooden CD storage cases, along with nearly a thousand CDs. The CDs are long-since ripped to a hard drive and backup. I hardly ever touch them. I’ve considered selling the bulk of them while they still have some value, but I’m put off by the labor involved: selling them online requires a lot of data entry and post office trips. I’ve considered storing them in the basement, but that just seems like delaying the inevitable. Do I really want to carry all that stuff down the rickety stairs to our Blair Witch basement just to leave it there for years and then later, during some frantic move, impulsively throw it all away? I’ve considered leaving them there in the office/guest room forever, figuring it’s only a matter of time before my computer, external hard drive and Time Machine backup simultaneously ignite in the type of cartoonish accident to which I’m prone.

Well, my hand’s been forced. “Do nothing” is no longer an option.

At the beginning of the week, Lisa and I began telling people the news that we’ve been keeping to ourselves: she’s pregnant. We’re having a second baby at the beginning of December. That’s six months from now, so we have plenty of time to do the many, many things that need doing.

Most significantly, that office/guest room needs to be converted to a baby’s room, and the dining room that needs to be converted to an office/dining room/playroom. My closet, in that guest room, needs to be cleaned out, and the hall closet, currently full of nonsense will become (get ready for the indignity) the closet I’ll be sharing with our daughter, since her room doesn’t have one. We have to paint. We have to bring all the baby stuff up from the basement, clean it, and fit it into the precious little available space. We have to buy a bed for the older child and move the crib for the younger one. We have to remove the leaves from the dining room table, move a filing cabinet, and <thunk, snore>…

Most of the decisions associated with these room swaps are straightforward. But having to do something about the CDs bugs me. I like having them. It’s not just that I hate so many things about iTunes, or that I’m a snob and a collector and a nostalgic sissy, although all of those things are true. Our house is also filled with physical books, and I’m reading more digitally than on paper now. The same decision will be facing us soon for those, and I think it’ll be even worse. I’d rather not set the precedent for myself that these things are expendable. They may be. The world has changed. But the buildup of that CD collection is a 20-year story. The emergence of MP3s is shorter, generic, and not something to get nostalgic over.

Like most people my age, I went through a big music piracy stage in my early/mid 20s, downloading everything I came across. I have no warm feelings for the digital files. I invested significantly less time in the music that came to me through the air and over a wire than the music I ripped from the shrinkwrap. I just didn’t value it in the same way. Shaking off the physical makes me worry that I just won’t care anymore. Every album will arrive without fanfare: Download Completed.

There’s the obvious parallel concern about age: that I’m making this change just about the time that people stop listening to new music and start listening to what’s become classic rock, and then oldies, and then just the Weather Channel. But we’ll leave that to the side for now. I’m to busy to be concerned about my mortality. I’ve gotta move some furniture. Also, the Celtics are on (concerns about mortality? Try ESPN tonight…).

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