I’ve never been a very sentimental person. I always tell people not to buy me nice things for presents. Rings, I lose them. Earrings, I always lose at least one of the set. Necklaces, I can’t keep track of. Birthday cards are usually recycled immediately after opening. Things get broken, things get lost. The intangibles, experiences, and memories preserved in photographs are more valuable to me than most things. I’ve moved around a lot in the past four years and every time I move, I bring less and less stuff. I donate, throw out or condense my necessities. Things left behind sit in storage in my parents attic. I even left most of my books behind on the most recent move.
It’s freeing not to have many material things, but when my mac laptop crashed last week, so did that Buddhist mindset.
“I can fix it, but I have to wipe it clean and start over like it’s coming out of the box for the first time.”
My stomach dropped and I couldn’t help the swell of nausea that brought tears to my eyes thinking about the year and half of my life I had put into my laptop. Did I have everything backed up, the tech asked me. Some of it. My photos from my semester abroad were printed in a photo album, and on facebook. Most of my music and movies can be replaced. Hard copies of important documents existed.
As my mind reeled, the tech asked me the obvious solution, do you want to buy an external hard drive? She offered the slim possibility that she could fix it without deleting the memory, but once the diagnosis was underway there was no turning back. I I took my chances and didn’t buy an external hard drive- I couldn’t afford it. I had just bought a bed and the rest was for upcoming rent. And my stubborn pride (as usual) got in the way of calling my parents and asking for the money to buy one.
So, rather impulsively, I let the tech erase my computer. She looked at me like I was out of my mind. She reminded me that everything saved on the online server like emails and on icloud would be intact. I sat there for the next 20 minutes, as my computer underwent a lobotomy, remembering the things I was losing. And holding back tears. It was stupid, I know. But, I realized I wasn’t left with any other option than to embrace a clean slate. Or just mope about it. After cathartically mourning my lost intangible possessions in a coffee shop bathroom, I made damn good use of wifi and started putting programs back into my laptop. It’s how I roll, I’m good at picking up and moving on. Call me callous, Buddhist, stupid. I’m looking at it as an intense cleanse and a chance to reevaluate what really matters to me. On the bright side, I have the newest operating system and for the first time in my life I am up to date with all my technology. Still, it was a high price to pay.
This whole incident got me thinking about the intangibility of the art world, particularly the appeal of the theater. The Grace Period Blog’s performance on November 21st will be documented, but the experience can never be exactly replicated. People speak of the magic of the theater because it’s appeal is in the fleeting experience. You have to be present to appreciate it. I encourage you to value the experiences and keep conversation going. Even if something is not preserved forever, the ideas that spring forth from it are what matters more than the original.
With peace of mind,
Ps: please join us on November 21st for our performance, and check out our indiegogo if you feel our cause is worth supporting!