There have been two shelves sitting against the wall in the home office for a while now. They’re an artifact from my earlier life, yet I can’t get rid of them due to their current role as the storage spot for our combined collection of compact discs. Remember those? I barely do, which is why in a fit of purging (which is coming more frequently these days), I decided it was time to let them go.
There are two reasons I can see to hold on to any CD:
1. I’m in the mood for a certain album, and want to rely on the ease of just popping it in the stereo.
2. I’m an audiophile and can’t stand the degredation built into MP3s.
Except #2 isn’t true at all, so really there’s just one reason. With about 200 CDs on the shelf, my guess is that reason #1 doesn’t apply to at least half of them. Most are still good albums, but really, when am I going to get the urge to listen to Squirrel Nut Zippers’ “Hot” or the best of Squeeze, all in one sitting? Time to let those babies go, and free up yet another corner of our home of unnecessary clutter.
Meanwhile, as my physical collection diminishes, the digital collection continues to bulge at the seams. With close to 14,000 tracks in my iTunes library, I could listen to my whole collection in order, and it would take me over two months (assuming eight hours a night for sleep and a few minutes each day for eating and checking email). A sane person could ask what in the hell I need all that music for, and I really couldn’t give a sane answer. It’s easy to collect, and the cost of keeping old or bad stuff just doesn’t add up that fast. Which is too bad. I wouldn’t ming going through my library and weeding out the crap, but the benefit is just not worth my time. Such are the differences between physical and digital clutter.
A few months ago I insisted that Sarah step up and start contributing to the musical part of this marriage. Right now it’s unidirectional: I’ll find new music, play it when we’re both around, and over time, she’ll pick out the stuff she likes and ask that I add it to her iPod. I’m happy to do it, but I feel I’m missing out on a lot of good stuff that’s out there, stuff that only she’d be able to find.
I guess in the broader scope, it’s one part of a bigger trade-off: I take care of the music for the both of us, and she does the same for all our underwear, socks and pants. It’s a fair trade; in both cases, I’m sure we’d be able to survive without the new goods, but life is so much more exciting when your toes are warm and your ears are happy.