I can’t seem to shake the feeling that my means of technology wants me to forget my past.
I’ve had numerous instances where I misplace my USB drives, although that could just be my forgetfulness. Every desktop computer I’ve ever owned has crashed and destroyed hundreds of GBs of information. And my iPod never can move mp3s from my computer to the next. Then again, that could be the fact that I have a Apple. But I’m not trying to contradict myself–I’m trying to make a point.
The 2nd PC we ever owned, one my now 25-year-old cousin built, decided to hate me and delete all the material saved under my name. That included all photos that I had saved, any old homework, and all of my half-written short stories that I never bothered to finish. But the worst of that one was the 1000 songs I’d saved on that computer. Back then, I thought 4 GB of music was a lot. If I knew back then how much music I would have now, I’d fall out of my shoes.
Four years later, after my Dad bought us a new widescreen PC downstairs, I was a junior in high school. It was a year after I’d joined Outlook, and I had already invested myself in writing my “manifesto” as it’s come to be called. Thirteen pages in, our computer crashed, contracting some virus from Limewire. My Dad wasn’t surprised, and he blamed it all on us. Again, all the information I’d saved on the computer–gone. Dad had to flatten the hard drive and reset all the date. Thankfully, I had most of the memories still locked in my head and on the pages of my journals that I could recreate the story from where it started. And now the manifesto, given the title “Hotel California” sits in the Outlook room, forever in a binder, saved within plastic page protectors, like a sort of time capsule.
And just this summer, one year after I got my own laptop, that same PC that Dad flattened three years ago went kaput again. I think by now, it’s given up completely. In turn, I’ve given up completely on PCs. I will forever be a Mac. Even though I slightly love John Hodgemen more than Justin Long. But this one hurts the most. This time, the lonely PC downstairs went slowly. Over time, the Internet stopped working, then the RAM gave up, making the simplest tasks all-day ordeals. For some reason, my father decided that it was the hard drive however. So he took it out, thinking it was some kind of cancer on the computer. To tell you the truth, I think the PC has been on its death bed for a couple years now. But Dad wanted to save it. He extracted the supposedly diseased hard drive and installed a new TERABYTE hard drive. He took out the small, sad, and sick heart of the computer and replaced it with a new, big and healthy heart. That heart may have been sick, but it had GBs of memories–photos to be more exact. As much as I wanted to computer to work–seeing that my with it not working, my sister was interfering with my laptop time–but I didn’t want to lose all the things that I loved.
It may sound cheesy that I had memories on the computer, but we don’t have physical photo albums anymore. My mom has dozens of them in a trunk at the foot of her bed. I have about 7 of them in a box under my bed. But I have hundreds, possibly over a thousand photos on my computer right now, from a year and a half of use time. I don’t even know how many photos were on the PC downstairs. I just know its way more than I have now.
I lost more than I have now. I’m so thankful that I’ve always kept journals, but photos speak so much louder than words. And much easier, since I might possibly lose the ability to read my own handwriting in the future. I know that I should move on from the past, from Outlook, from high school, from before I was sick, but the thing is–I can’t. Those things are so much apart of who I am today, that it’s impossible to forget those things. That’s why it saddens me to see parts of the Outlook in particular falling apart. I won’t be specific, since I don’t want to single anyone out. But what I had saved on the PC downstairs was years of memories and events and trips that I didn’t want to forget. And now I don’t have the option to even try to remember those things. From all that’s happened in the last year and a half, things get lost in the all the hustle and bustle of illness, and college, and mental breakdowns, and friendships lost, and relationships started, and relationships lost. I don’t have the luxury of looking back on the simpler times, before the shit hit the fan.
And I can’t help but wonder if that was intentional. If fate and karma needed me to forget. If fate and karma used those things that I normally trust so much to put away those memories for good. In a sense, to destroy them. I don’t have that time capsule to open up years from now.
And it makes me sad.