For years, I’ve had the habit of keeping the old cables from my past. Wires and wires, quarter-inch jacks and mini-jacks and parallel cables and VGA connectors. Later, HDMI and wifi connections replaced those early, fussily-pinned male-and-female connections with something more universal.
I’m cleaning the apartment, which seems less daunting when you hear that the space involved is probably under 300 square feet than it is when you’re trying to clean it out. The lights in here aren’t great. Most of them come from dim bulbs in age-yellowed fixtures. I’ve lived here four years and am just beginning to feel enough ownership over my abode to start putting pieces of myself into the place.
In trying to use a cheap piece of Plasticine (Copyright? Registration? TradeMark?)/leather furniture-slash-storage to its most efficient “use” I uncover a pile of old cables. It’s when I see the one from an old video capture card that I realize: how absurd, the idea these physical connectors would make their way into use in the future. Exactly once, I found myself in need of a cable I didn’t already own (and never had), and wound up paying an extortionate price for the replacement.
Earlier this year, I took a perfectly functional CD player to Goodwill because I had no practical use for a CD player. My computer houses a DVD-R drive; I strip everything I listen to to MP3 if I buy it in physical form at all, which I haven’t since I trudged the streets of Camden in search of the last British wave of music I bought into on CD.
Letting go of these cables seems impossible. But I weigh their usefulness against the space they take up and think of my roommate coming home earlier, as I was in the grip of a cleaning frenzy, asking her if I could use her hair dryer on the regular so I could throw out mine. “I’m so proud of you,” she said, because we encourage one another to be our best selves and she knows I hold on to things for way too long sometimes.
Can I let go of these old, physical connections to a past that involves a 486 on Windows 3.5; WP5.1 run in DOS, floppy disks and videotape-to-digital conversions? I used to joke that a BA in Media Studies (Video Concentration) meant I was qualified to hook up connections from one piece of equipment to another, but this physical education was quickly outpaced by the progress of ensuing years, and only part of the theory held true.
Knotted up in lengths of cables and noting the absurdity of this specialized cable [PIC], I think, this is ridiculous. This is a moment of clarity, a lesson in scaling back. Stop holding on to those things which no longer serve you.
Pare down. Don’t tuck them in a bag, zipped up, smothered under fabric. Put them away, let them go.
Let the cables sleep.
music: bush – letting the cables sleep [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPelsDKEtLQ]