Sunday, May 09, 2010

Computer Nostalgia

It feels like I've been getting rid of stuff for years. Once I started seriously moving around the globe, I realized how much of a burden stuff can be. Especially after I paid to keep all my junk in storage for a year-and-a-half, and then when I unpacked it, marveled at how little of the stuff I actually wanted or needed.

So how is it that I still have SO MUCH STUFF? Ugh! It's a never-ending battle to get rid of junk. It's like my garage has a secret one-way tunnel, and crap is quietly shoved through from an alternate junk-filled reality when I'm not looking.

Last time I moved, I sold the old Super 8 projecter on eBay, also the 1992 Powerbook Duo 230 and all its accessories, fed all the 45s and cassettes into the computer, sold four long boxes and two short ones of comic books, and put all all film and negatives into binders. I even labelled them. I shredded years of paper and hauled boxes of books to the used book sale.

Why, then, is all this crap still with me? I feel like I should get a dumpster and just pitch it all out the window.

Yesterday's achievement was this: I recycled my 2002 iBook. I sent it to a place called for $30. I got an extra three bucks for still having the original box and the original software, which someone in the alternate reality had kindly shoved into my garage a few months back.

I did pause, though. When I finished MariesWorldTour in December, 2001, I was home for about three weeks before heading to my new life in Australia. My reward to myself for having completed such a daunting task as going around the world for a year? A brand-new iBook and a cool new toy called an iPod. Both were phenomenal. The laptop was miles ahead of all the computers I'd previously owned, and the iPod opened up a brand new world of lightweight travel.

The iPod is long since gone, sold by a savvier Marie who quickly realized that iPods have a short shelf-life. I keep up now, mostly, but I barely use the one I have since I haven't lived in another country for the last few years and don't drive much. But the laptop stayed with me well past its expiration date.

I had a pang of remorse when I packed up the little-laptop-that-could. This laptop lived in Australia twice, traveled across the US and to Mexico, moved to Spain, Uganda, Namibia, Kuwait and Cairo with me, and went along when I visited New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangkok, Kenya, and Kenya. I swapped out the keyboard in Kuwait and paid to have the bezel replaced in Cairo. I dragged it up and down eastern and southern Africa in 2005, from Uganda to Namibia to Cape Town to Lesotho to Dar to Arusha to Nairobi and back to Uganda.

Poor little laptop. It had been so loyal... except that it's not actually human. It's just a heap of obsolete electronics, much of them probably toxic.

I ignored my pangs and packed the laptop up, along with the spare old keyboard. I'd erased and reformatted the hard drive, taken off the password, and tested the NewerTech battery. The battery alone was worth twice what I was getting for the laptop, but I was happier to get rid of it than to go to the effort of selling it for a higher price on eBay.

I printed out the buyer's FedEx Ground prepaid label and dropped the box off at the mailing center.

The entire experience was entirely unsentimental. The proprietor took the box and went back to serving other customers. I hesitated a second, then left.

I am now four pounds of obsolete electronics lighter.

1 comment:

Susan D-L said...

Stuff--so easy to accumulate, so frustrating to get rid rid of. I know we have far less crap than a lot of people but I still feel like going the dumpster route every time I walk past the two rooms that are basically holding areas for books and comics.

We also have a small but significant pile of obsolete Mac-stuff (3400 Powerbook, anyone?). Including our 2004 iPod, which these days is the office DJ and occasional external storage drive.