I’ve always been a bit of a shopaholic. And while I do buy clothes and handbags and shoes, the bulk of my money (after bills-sigh) goes to books, DVDs and CDs. Sometimes even records (you know, those big ol’ things your parents and grandparents own).
And before you think of me as a hippy loony who refuses to accept modernity, rest assured (or, not) that I have a smartphone, tablet, kindle and laptop. Duh. But (call it materialism if you wish), I still like having things.
I mean colourful books to fill your shelves are so much prettier than just a kindle lying around on the table. A tower filled with CDs shows off your music taste a lot better than having to let everyone sit at your laptop to scroll through your library. And if you have people over for a movie night, it’s infinitely easier for them to stare at your DVDs than to sit huddled and stare at your extensive movie collection on hard drive.
I mean I have both really. Though I always find that I still haven’t digitalised most of my old CDs, and always wonder whether I should do that on my next day off (I don’t ever). Still, I think we might be losing out if we stop showing off.
Back in February, Vint Cerf, Google pioneer, warned that we should not forget to print our pictures if we wanted to preserve traces of our life. He explained that going all digital might result in a second coming of the Dark Ages, with no lasting memories for future generations to remember us by, because it’s getting increasingly harder to access old date with new technology.
How many times have you heard someone moan about losing all their stuff because they’d stupidly forgotten to back it up? And yes, I’m openly calling anyone who doesn’t back up “stupid”. It’s ridiculous nowadays to expect nothing to go wrong if you base all your trust in a machine that’s designed to last 5 years at most.
Remember when you were young, how you spent time looking at old photo albums? Trying to pick out your grandmother from a crowd of smiling black and white girls in an old picture? How someone proudly introduced you to your namesake on a yellowish polaroid? How you found out someone in your family had been in the paper because there’s a laminated clipping somewhere?
Now think of what you could be leaving for your kids and grand-kids. “Here honey, that was me when I was your age,” you say, trying to scroll down an endless Facebook feed that goes back 20 years. “Daddy used to love that song,” you’ll explain while your computer tells you the file you’re trying to access is corrupted. “See, this is Mum and Dad on their wedding day,” you shout with glee as the video plays, but no sound can be heard because the software isn’t compatible anymore.
Personally, I don’t want to be responsible for putting and end to civilisation as we know it. Sure, we have too much stuff (me the first), but on the other hand, stuff is what’s been left behind for thousands of years. All archaeologists find when they dig up a site, is old oil lamps, scratched pictures on walls or remnants of a baby crib.
And that also means finding out a way to transfer old videos of my childhood from VHS to DVD or MP3. It means holding on to huge boxes filled with pictures, and taking every single letter, polaroid or dusty frame a grandparent gives me. It’s laminating some pictures I love most so they can withstand the passing of time. And it’s spending (too much?) money on buying my favourite things.
Pictures from: thenextweb.com, freshhome.com, museeniepce.com, hifitower.eu
Kids around me can’t understand me watching VHS tapes or have any idea what a phone with a cord is.