I took a big step for me this weekend. I finally got rid of my three 10+ year old crappy desktops.
All of them were still in working condition (at least so far as I know since the last time I booted any of them was months ago). One of them was the first computer I ever bought for myself, after six months of working at the library and $1300 (the biggest amount of money I have ever spent on a computer and ever plan to). This computer even had a name, a practice I’ve continued for all my laptops (it was named after a computer in one of my first novels). For all three computers (and an assortment of cables and adapters) I received $13.43 which to be fair is better than the nothing I was expecting.
For a while they were Linux experiments, but in truth they were just taking up space. I had some dream that I would swap parts from one to the other until finally the last one died. But in truth these old Dells just didn’t have the courtesy to die in a timely fashion. Remember when Dells were good machines? Turns out they were better than we thought 🙂
My wife says I’m over sentimental about objects, and she probably has me there. She says I should cherish the memory of saving up to buy my first computer, without actually saving the old hunk of junk. Certainly a computer seems still a small thing to get sentimental about and less socially acceptable than say, a car.
Part of my counter argument would be that we Americans are too quick to throw the old out for the new, that not enough of us take the time to maintain something rather than just replace it. Certainly going to the recycling center (or more truthfully bone-yard) gave me an appreciation for just how much junk we produce (and this is only my part of Columbus).
But in truth I’m as much a part of consumer society as anyone. I just buy additional things while keeping the old ones. And in a tiny house, sometimes something’s gotta give.
Like all projects that thrust a certain amount of change into my environment my first thing is to try to take advantage of the space I’ve gained to have a cleaner workspace and better arrangement of my gear at my fingertips. I swapped out an external drive for one of the larger hard drives I pulled. And even though it was a meager amount of money, I’m starting to look through my office and the house for any more extraneous gear that has passed its prime. I might even buy something fun with the money, like comic books or a tiny gadget.
I probably won’t be buying another desktop anytime soon, since my life these days really requires more mobility than a fixed location computer. But thinking back, I’m amazed at all I was able to create and learn with these machines (and how many trips that computer made from home to school to the CARS lab to all over and still survived). These were the first computers I learned to tinker with, replacing graphics cards, optical drives, hard drives, and the like. And they even served to generate some of the fractals for my book when I needed just about every graphics generating computer I could get my hands on.
What about you? Do you get sentimental about objects even past the time you should probably keep them?