Thursday, January 6, 2011

Have I Not Served You Well?

I've been doing some downsizing. I got rid of a bunch of books and several bookcases a few weeks ago, and, starting yesterday, I've been taking my CDs from the cases, putting them in CD envelopes, and throwing away the cases.

This is radical stuff to me, being a collector for all these years. And when something radical happens, I hear a still small voice, "Have I not served you well? Has it really come to this, my old friend?" Which is true. Most of my possessions serve me well, except sometimes I'm serving them. Such as when I have to carry them a boxful at a time from one place to another, or I start thinking I have too many of something.

And on this stuff, CDs and books, records and things, I really figured I'd have the same (expanding) collection all my life, at least till it was time to go to a nursing home. Since obviously I'm never going to have a grandson like Grandma to take care of my stuff.

But then -- a mental bug gets the best of me, like in this case -- and I start downsizing. I'm getting a jump on spring cleaning! In this case, I started with the classical stuff, since I hardly ever listen to it. I took the CDs out of the cases, and in the case of something that doesn't have the track listing in the booklet, I had to break the case and cut a piece out of the back paper.

Having completed the classical, I got to thinking it seemed OK. I could live with it. So I started in with my more popular stuff. And it's been no problem, except it's time consuming. Still, it's going to save all kinds of space, which I noticed as the cases started piling up in a junk box. I've taken three or four boxes out to the recycling container.

And I used to take really good care of the cases, back when CDs were new, even replacing broken ones a time or two. And now they're garbage! A few were unopened, so I opened them just by scraping a knife across the front and taking off the plastic! Unheard of.

For a few artists, I'm not going to take the plunge, a few of my favorites in the collection. I'm just not ready for that quite yet.

Anyway, the still small voice. I hear this when I do something radical with my stuff. "Have I not served you well?" "Yes, you served me well in the years I was doing it that way. But the time for your service has regrettably come to an end. Had I known you were actually going to take it so hard, I would've given you at least two weeks notice. For whatever difference it would've made.

I'm also the guy who looks wistfully at a motel room for the last time. So clearly there's something wrong with me.

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