I’m writing this on c’s computer, sitting on the bed in a mostly empty room. My computer’s dead at least for now, and the bedroom furniture is mostly piled in other spaces, which aren’t quite rooms in this house. This is the one room, enclosed, with walls and doors, and it’s under reconstruction. My computer just flashes a gray folder with a question mark. These two things have become inseparable, in an existential #firstworldproblems sort of way.
I get preachy sometimes about purging your junk, burning old papers, not leaving boxes full of clutter for your progeny or the people you leave to sort through. A couple years ago, sorting decades’ worth of receipts and pictures and lists of things that might matter (once you list too many things, Roy Clark says, the list signals chaos more than order…or something. I lent the book out and my notes are saved on the dead-for-now-or-forever hard drive.) at c’s mom’s house, i felt grateful for blogging and email and facebook and the things that keep our clutter contained and intangible, thinking of it as thoughtful consideration for future generations (“Hey, we fucked the planet, but at least you won’t have to sort through shopping lists from 1973, because they’re all on my phone!”) But i’m wishing now that pictures were all in boxes instead of hard drives, future generations be damned because they are anyway so they might as well have a bunch more old crap to dig through.
We watched the first episode of the show Hoarders on netflix the other night–i’m not sure why, other than it was suggested and we’d been swimming in sawdust all day and it seemed refreshing to see a bigger mess than yours. L.E.C., do you remember when we moved into the Mabel house and the cabinet under the sink was stuffed so full with plastic grocery bags that we couldn’t get it closed or keep anything else in it, so instead we put the bags in a 100 lb burlap potato bag hung from the wall so it looked like a grownup bag stash, and even if we’d reused 100 plastic bags a week we couldn’t have gotten through that stash. The people on Hoarders have whole houses like that. And at 1 am, crawling over a pile of pillows and Dall sheep skulls to get to the desk drawer that might have contained a startup disk I vaguely remember having seen once (it didn’t), it seemed like a very fine line between responsible record keeping and diving headfirst into a ceiling-high stack of plastic bottle lids looking for a sock while your horrified relatives and therapists look on.
And no, it’s not backed up, because i seem to put backing up my shit in the same category as taking pills and calling people back and it just doesn’t happen, but sometimes when i’m trying to remember a poem i can google it and find something i blogged 10 years ago, and sometimes socks do show up in a box full of lids so i guess it’s worth trying.