24 June 2008

the lightness of tech failure

my laptop has been on the brink for almost a year now. it functions for about ten minutes at a time, then needs a ten minute rest. forget streaming anything, photoshop, playing music or running more than one program at once. my patience has been tested to its utmost limits by this little machine -- i frequently dream of throwing it off my terrace. i think when i finally get a new one, i will reward myself by doing just that. it will feel so good.

today my external drive decided to join the rebellion. clicking and beeping, it gives me the finger while holding all my photos and music hostage. all my music? well, just what i have managed to collect since i last lost all my music in october. did i mention my digital camera is broken? my room, a frequent death zone for houseplants is now fatal for electronic devices as well. be warned cell phone. you're not that far away electric toothbrush. toaster, i would keep my distance.

somehow i am less devastated by the prospect of losing all this personal data...bits and bytes...than feels warranted. maybe the upside of having your photos and music stored digitally and so easily vanished is that they are not really irreplaceable in the way that a photo album or record collection is. i can get that music back. friends must have the photos stored elsewhere.

i like to travel light, to live light as well. i try to keep my possessions few; i like the idea of packing them all into a couple of suitcases and being mobile with all my belongings. i am constantly giving things away, paring down, never holding onto ticket stubs or trinkets for sentimental value, eliminating clutter. so maybe i need to live my digital life the same way: reduce my exposure. when i recover all my photos somehow, i need to just choose the best ones and store them online somewhere. something similar should happen with my music, although i'm not sure how that will work.

i need to travel lightly. i'll look at this now-useless beeping clicking box on my desk and remember to change my ways.

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