Time depth.

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Something about having an inch or two of snow outside (which, living in Atlanta, used to be thought of as more of a rare occurrence than we do now) helps me get into a frame of mind at the early parts of the year where I see the passage of time in the technology around me, in our home, in how often we hear (or no longer hear) from friends and loved ones.

It was this way, then it became that way, and now it is some other way. An evolution. And yet, because I have some (I hope benign) hoarding tendencies, the first or second way may still literally be on the shelves around me—old notebooks, obsolete computers, storage (CDs! zip drives! videotape!) iDevices, and—books, oh my, the books that provide a soft-focus background to my life and a quick hit of comfort when I yank one off the shelf, (literally) blow the dust off of it, and thumb through a few pages.

Yep, that’s what was in there. What a fine book. Boy, the cover is fading in the sunlight. I wonder if I can get it as an epub or pdf to weightlessly carry around with me when we travel?

Because as nice as the books are as background, touchstone, and illustration, they have weight—literally. Moving a box filled with them is a sad chore. They may “give me joy” in the moment, but would simplifying my life offer more pleasure?

I am less and less seduced by the newest and the greatest, mostly because the pretty new and pretty great stuff I have now is not falling apart and not falling behind and yeah, still does the work I need to do in the infrequent moments when there is technological work to be done.

I have an in-house web page that tells me exactly how old—in years or days—our stuff, be it camera or iPad or water heater—is. The day we got it, what we paid for it, how much that works out to be in cents per day.

I marvel at how old the screens I stare at or the keys I click are in some cases. And in other cases, I see a warning flag—that thing’s gonna go bust in the next six months, I can just tell. Prepare the appropriate credit card. Scan the many evaluative words online. Have some notes toward a purchase decision at the ready.

And then look out again at the snow.