Tagpatience

Artifacts

We recently became the proud owners of a turntable. Shopping for it consisted of asking has anything changed in the last twenty years, and hearing in response well…this one has a USB port. Which was more or less perfect for my level of interest in discussing technology.

We immediately rescued the lonely vinyl relegated to the basements and attics of relatives. What followed was complete and utter memory overload. Smell may be the shortcut to the past, but music has to come in not far behind. While I could have bought many of the albums on CD, or downloaded them, there is something about the nature of vinyl that cannot be recaptured. (Yes, I know I’ve argued the same point with books. Let’s slap that Luddite label on me and move on.)

When I listen to these old records, it’s not just the music that reaches me. It’s the tick of scratches that my mind waits for when I hear the same song in some superior undamaged form. It’s the physical nature: the shape, the weight, the sound translated into grooves that can be traced with a fingertip. There’s an intimacy required in the choosing, the placing, even in the removing from the sleeve.

But the thing that I’m thinking about today, as I sit here listening, is how CDs stole something I never noticed: patience. When I was a kid, setting the needle on a record made me nervous. I didn’t like the sound of it touching down. As a result, I tended to listen through a whole side, which made the experience of hearing the songs I loved that much sweeter. They weren’t fragments; they were part of a broader landscape. Years of listening to CDs has accustomed me to getting what I want and moving on.

What does this all mean? Perhaps nothing more than that today I’m little lost in nostalgia.

Tales of the moderately rural

There’s a cheerful little sign on the WordPress dashboard letting me know that I’m not using the most up to date version of Firefox. It suggests that I may want to update it. You know, just in case I’ve forgotten to do so.

I haven’t. I just haven’t had the six or so hours free to tie up the phone line while downloading it.

Yes, it’s true. I live twenty minutes from a large college town, an hour from multiple cities, ninety minutes from Boston, and I’m stuck with good old dial-up. I also don’t have cell phone service or television stations (since the change to digital). Add in rural phone lines with lots of static, frequent power outages, and a job sometimes requiring me to be reachable 24/7, and you have all the makings of either a comedy or an early heart attack.

It’s not a terrible thing, most of the time. It means I can start opening a website and go away and make tea and read something for a while and come back just in time to see the first text appear on the screen. It means I can cross youtube completely off my list of possible distractions. It means I have ample time to practice meditative calm while waiting for something as simple as saving a blog post.

It also means it can take a long time to email things. To send out a full novel manuscript, for example, leaves time enough to cycle endlessly through exhilaration–mild anxiety–complete and utter despair. Send something you’re unsure about? No worries, you can begin your regret in the long minutes it takes it to leave the outbox.

Today I finally signed up for a twitter account. It took roughly my entire life to wade through the process. I may well never have the patience to access it again. But I did it.

© 2020 Cosmic Driftwood

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑