Saturday, September 24, 2005

iLost 

But Now I'm Found


20 gigs of music carefully culled from entirely legal sources, from artist download sites to iTunes to a voluminious CD collection.

Rarities now unrecoverable, from Sebadoh's cover of Cold as Ice to hand-recorded live versions of Manic Depression from Gillian Welch at last year's Green River Festival.

As yet unposted audioblogs and podcast drafts.

Digital product -- word documents, powerpoint presentations, photoshopped images, code and more -- representing the entirety of seven years of professional work.

The older child singing Happy Birthday to me on my thirty third.

My smallest daughter's first cry, recorded less than a half hour after her birth.

Gone like the wind.

Yesterday in the wee hours of the morning my iPod was stolen from our car behind the borrowed condo, and with it sundry other car contents: glovebox candy supplies, scattered CDs, an ancient Palm Pilot.

The week before, the thief took a folder containing the only copy of our newhome inspection report, and our last remaining checkbook.

The loss of stuff sucks, surely. But it’s the loss of content -- every file, every single-copy casualty to our no-back-up, no-computer nomadic lifestyle – that really hurt.

But not for long.

Last year at this time such a loss would have been a personal disaster. I'd have stormed off, tucked it inside, seethed for days, anger seeping out the seams.

But if seven months on the road with two kids and little else to show for it have taught me anything, it's that the best things in life aren't things. The bank can stop checks. My head contains all the music I've ever wanted. The thoughts will continue unabated, blogged or unblogged. I will have another birthday, another song sung. The baby will cry again. We lost her first voice, but we'll have her forever.

So while Darcie hung up hopeful signage round the neighborhood -- $100 and no questions asked for the return of the contents only -- I walked it off with baby Cassia. The gleeful looks we get in town cheered me up to no end. And the nuzzled fuzzyhead under my nose, redhaired and sweetsmelling, cleared my brain.

And as we walked back homeward, away from the chattering crowds and the headturning roar of motorcycles, for the first time in ages, she fell asleep in my arms, on my watch, as if she really trusted me.

I'll miss those nightly walks through town, the baby snug against my chest facing outward, passersby cooing and smiling like the world is a wonder. I'll miss the gasless access to supplies and cheap windowshopping entertainment, and the possibility, however unrealized, of hitting bars and musichalls afterhours.

But I no longer wish to live in Northampton.

You can have your smalltown. I'll take the woods, and gladly, as long as my family feels safe. And that's what counts, innit?

And so this Wednesday, we'll close on the house. The movers come Saturday. We’ll have bedrooms set up anon; our event horizon grows near.

My wife, my life, my daughters, my newly minted soul. My sense of priorities, my newfound center. For all these things, God, we give thanks. Especially the reminder that for all our strife and striving, all our desperation and distraught hours, I'm better than I used to be. Yes, thank you, O Lord, for even this loss, just in time. No matter how the world howls at us, this will always be the year I grew up.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:20 AM |

Comments:
I am so sorry about your iPod. I know it is a replaceable material object, but I understand what the irreplaceable items mean to you. I know if I lost my photos, I would be heartbroken.

Standing on my toes for your closing (new African saying I learned from the "#1 Ladies Detective Agency" books).
 
Growing up is a journey with no real beginning and no true end.

And, I hate to rub it in your face like this...but dude MAKE BACKUPS!!! It's a lesson, I too, have learned the very hard way.

...pictures, writing, stuff I really cared about, gone gone gone in my last computer crash.
 
MAKE BACKUPS!!! It's a lesson, I too, have learned the very hard way.

I learned this lesson long, long ago myself -- the hard way, as do all of us.

Now I teach it to seventh graders.

But when you've spent seven years thinking you'll live on a LAN with unlimited storage, and then suddenly you're homeless, and jobless, with no computer of your own...where the heck are you supposed to back up?

Sadly, storage costs dough. It requires at least either a hard drive, the ability to burn dozens (and dozens and dozens) of CDs or DVDs, or the cash to pay for netbased gigs. And the nomadic and broke lifestyle kind of precludes that, eh?

In other words, backing up is all well and good, but let's face it, from a class-and-life-stability perspective, it is a luxury.

See, for example, the difference between those who had the class and cash to save their possessions from Katrina...and those who had no transport, no storage, no way to save, and walked away, losing everything but their own lives -- if they were lucky.

So I'll forgive you "rubbing it in my face" if you'll accept that you got the wrong face, eh?

Here's hoping that the next phases of my life will be stable enough to provide some virtual space, as well as the physical.

In the meantime, don't compare me to the digitally careless.
 
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