Yesterday was Georgia Tech’s celebration of Earth Day! There were displays for eco-cars, clothing and office supply swaps, and information and awareness galore. The attraction that caught my attention, though, was the electronics recycling coming close by for our convenience, and to show support.
A continual trend over the past year or two has been a shedding of old habits and perceptions of myself. One of those that I’m slowly moving away from is my packrat mentality. I hang on to stuff. For a long time. To the point that things become cluttered and even my mental space gets encroached upon by the past.
I put my sentimentality in all sorts of things, big and small. Just about everything has significance if I think long enough.
Old electronics hold that quality, too. I recently went home to volunteer to clean up trash in the woods by the Chattahoochee River. While at the house, I took some of my old electronics that simply collect dust there, including my old laptop.
I used this machine extensively from when I got it in the early 2000s to when I went to college. It didn’t go very far; it was plugged in for power and ethernet internet nearly always. It was my portal to online games and communities, my school work, and my social life. It held much of what was important to me through every OS wipe and malware scare. A single paragraph hardly does it justice.
I knew why I had taken it with me to my apartment. It was slow, heavy, and clunky compared to cheap computers today. The benefit of donating it to actually be used was less than the search required to find a useful home. It was time to say goodbye.
When Earth Day rolled around, I took it with me on a little detour on the way to work. The folks by the truck above were very friendly and happily took my laptop and a few miscellaneous electronics, like an old power supply, graphics card, and more. The stuff was going to be sorted and crushed for the raw materials. Relinquishing Lappy happened really fast, and I didn’t try to think twice about it. Work, or some other distraction, was calling.
I take pride in the fact that, before I turned in Lappy, I powered it up in my apartment. It loaded up Windows XP, got online, and started a virus scan. It continued to serve until I finally said goodbye. I find this to be a testament to both solid engineering and the importance or benefit of taking care of your possessions. I question if others maintain this longevity with their electronics. The iPod I received in Christmas of 2005 continued to work until I received a new one, Christmas of 2012. This was a device I carried with me most days of my life in my pocket. I’m proud of the designers who created such a long-lasting product and of myself for valuing and caring about the things I own. Until it’s finally time to move on.
Nothing lasts forever. Precious possessions are replaced. Even memories don’t stick around the whole length of our short lifetimes. But I find such significance in the people, places, cultures, and things that stick around, that influence me or made those ultimately fickle memories. It’s like their brief state of organization, their service stands as an affront to the endless, dispassionate chaos outside of our world and experience. And I salute that.