Moving Thoughts Pt. 1

Posted by – August 22, 2009

I’m going to be an Old Person for a moment, so bear with me, but I just went through a lifetime of cassette tapes – and yes, I am keeping some – ones that my artist friends made me, or ones that were particularly good compilations (especially if they have music I haven’t otherwise tracked down in another form yet), compilations used at parties – it seems I used to throw a lot of parties, go figure – and other rare & interesting things, like a tape of Yul Brynner singing Romany songs.

& What I was thinking, in choosing a bunch for one of my students who likes cassette tapes – he has an older car that plays them – is that Kids These Days won’t have this kind of physical detritus to part with painfully at some point in their adult lives. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it is a thing, & I wonder what that means for them. I feel similarly about vinyl (although I know that’s kind of hip again, apparently) — these were all Things of Love, fetishy tokens of friendship and a shared love of music. So what do the kids swap these days when they have a crush on someone? Playlists? Seems a cheap imitation, but I suppose love & friendship are still the same, & heartbreak too.

2 Comments on Moving Thoughts Pt. 1

  1. Leah B says:

    Mix CDs.

    (This parenthetical is here solely to get past the “too short” filter on comments)

  2. Rebecca says:

    I’d also say that digital detritus can, in some ways, be differently weighty than physical.

    I got my first digital camera my freshman year of high school, almost ten years ago. As such, I have something like 13,000 photos spanning that time period, all easily accessible. I also have boxes of older photos under my bed, which does grant a more tactile pleasure to look through. But I’m less able to put my digital photos under the bed.

    When I’m looking through recent photos, these much older photos – of friends with whom I had falling-outs, of past relationships, of friends and family who have passed away – leap out just as readily as anything else. As part of that, I think digital detritus in some ways becomes harder to part with than physical. I can (and did, after a past breakup) collect printed photos, gifts, and physical artifacts of the relationship and put them in a box to go into my closet until the memories were less painful.

    Obviously, I could move photos to other folders or (heaven forbid) delete them entirely. But the allure of a completely-accessible photo collection has, so far, outweighed wanting to do so. And thus, the digital reminders stuck around even while I was able to hide the physical.

    -Rebecca

    PS – And I’d agree with Leah B that mix tapes – not to mention printed photos, physical gifts, postcards, and sdo on, mean Kids These Days will still be required to make painful decisions about what to keep and what to discard. Maybe not to quite the same extent as your talking about, because you’re right that I don’t have a huge box of mix tapes/CDs like I do have a huge collection of digital music, but the phenomenon isn’t going to disappear entirely. :)

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