This site is finally back up and running and updated and available and I even know my password. These are exciting times.
I mostly moved back here because it’s where everything from the past several years is and it’s frustrating and confusing to have different chunks of my life in different places like that because things tend to get lost in the shuffle of moving around. I lost all of my pictures from my year in Taiwan some time ago that way – I think while changing operating systems, though I’m not really sure when it happened because I only noticed it recently. But it’s sad. It makes me want to print everything I have out – all the pictures, the entries, the interesting articles I read – so that when inevitable hard drive failures happen, I don’t lose everything. I know that you can back stuff up on external hard drives, but even those can deteriorate or become obselete (I have several floppy disks of stuff I saved when I was a kid. What do I do with them now?)
I know that paper is a lot more fragile than computers, but barring fires or floods, there’s not much possibility that it will be destroyed.
(Sidenote: I actually do have an external hard drive that MIGHT have my Taiwan pictures on it…I don’t know where it is, though. Somewhere in the senior house basement? I’m not in a rush to look – if they’re there, they’re there. And anyway, I’m not there, so…)
I think I read an article once about how our society suffers from “athazagoraphobia,” which is the fear of forgetting or being forgotten/ignored and that we keep blogs and and take millions of pictures and demand constant attention in every way that becomes possible to deal with it. It certainly seems true.
When I ask myself why it would matter if I were to suddenly lose everything I’ve written since 2001 when I started keeping a diary, I can’t really think of an answer. It would feel like I just lost years of my life, but I would know that I hadn’t – or that if I had, I lost them while living them, not when the records of them disappeared. I tell myself that I have a bad memory and a rich life, and unless I write things down, I might forget everything. And, you know, “those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it” etc. etc. At the very least, reading my fourteen-year-old self’s words keep me humble and hopeful, because I consider myself a decent person now, but I know that I have not always been.
So, it’s not that documenting and keeping records of everything does not have its merits. But it’s getting a bit out of hand, isn’t it? People have been living without records of their everyday lives for ages and it’s gotten us this far – which, on second though, is that far. The only people who seem to have arrived at great truths are those who examined life. And gathering information is part of examining, is it not? Is there hope that one day everyone will say – enough! let’s go back and see what we’ve learned about ourselves through these experiments! – and they’ll read the trillions of posts they made about being bored and procrastinating and they’ll see how selectively they choose to experience politics because they only read articles that are shared by their friends and it will become obvious how all their statuses are the same and realize things like, “hey, black and white people are posting the same things. we are a brotherhood of men (and women)” and “wow, i procrastinate and drink a lot, maybe i’ll start doing something more productive with the short time i have left” and “i often complained of being bored when i was young, but look at all the excellent times i had with my friends. life is beautiful! how could i have ever said i was bored?”
…You never know, okay? A girl can dream.
I recently lost my phone and didn’t replace it for several weeks. I’m generally not a big user when it comes to my phone. I don’t care if I can’t text or if people can’t reach me at all hours of the day (especially because, when given the opportunity, people do reach me at ALL hours of the day. I think at least a third of the phone calls I get are between the hours of midnight and 4am). So, when I lost it, I didn’t care. “I don’t need it,” I told myself, arrogant in my independence of technology. The next morning, I woke up late. Because I don’t have an alarm clock. I ended up running into the kitchen just to know what time it was. And on the way to class, I wondered if I was still behind schedule, if I should pedal faster…But I had no idea. I don’t have a watch. Who has watches anymore? It was frustrating, to say the least.
But after awhile, I found myself being on time for things like classes and appointments, since I would leave a bit earlier rather than wait until the last possible second to give myself room to not worry. And I started doing something I haven’t done since I was very young – waking up early in the morning without an alarm. My brain woke me up at six am, and oh, the joys of not having to throw my phone across the room when it tries to wake me up, and not having to get out of bed to look for wherever it landed. And I felt more awake – as if my brain had been preparing to wake me up, subconsciously, for some time, rather than being startled and unprepared for obnoxious ringtones.
It was interesting. It felt good to know that there is still hope for not being completely dependent on technology – although I won’t deny that it’s useful. A friend once told me that the way computers and the internet have turned out is all wrong – they were only meant to be tools for us. Something useful, practical, time-saving. But look at us now.
Maybe what would bother me about losing everything I’ve written is that if it were to disappear, I would have to face the fact that I have lost countless hours of my life – the hours I spent writing everything down rather than experiencing the world.
In any case, I have my phone back and my computer back, my music library and my phone. Being unplugged was nice but (rather unfortunately) ultimately very inconvenient, so it’s time to go back to the future.