Wednesday, May 25

Today We Mourn An Address Book

In the process of moving into a new place, in the process of taking things out of boxes and finding places for them to go, one is forced to reconcile with what one wants to keep or [donate/regift/trash].

Red Horseshoe (link in my sidebar)
provides many fun and exotic
accouterments for letter-writers. 
This process also happens when one is packing things up in the first place. One is compelled to touch and handle every single stupid object one has accrued, and after 10,000 repetitions of this action one has to wonder how much stuff one really needs.

We have augmented this process with a third step in the middle: placing all our crap into storage. It happens in the middle. We packed everything up, placed it in a climate-controlled storage facility, and now we're shipping it from the facility to our new apartment. When one puts things in storage, one is compelled once again to weigh the worth of each object and how badly one needs to keep it in storage.

I love Moleskine notebooks. I love them so much, I've bought too many of them. I've rationalized and bargained my way into getting more. Why? I dunno. I love the concept of them, I love the color and texture of the paper (though admittedly Clairfontaine/Rhodia is consistently better), I love the reputation that comes with them. I traveled throughout Asia happily penning (most of) my adventures in a Moleskine, and it was no rare occasion to see other tourists with their Moleskines doing exactly the same thing, as tourists have done for decades.

Not personal information: that's no longer my number,
and my name/e-mail are easily had through this very blog.
But if you use a notebook sufficiently, there has to come a time to get rid of it. Obviously I would never throw away a travel journal, but there is a point when an address book has outlived its usefulness. Like when you fill one up, lose contact with many of those people, buy a new one, transfer the addresses you need, and that new one also comes with a smaller address book that could be used for some special... addressy... purpose. Yet to be determined.

So what happens to the old one? You could tras-... no, you could keep it. It's like a souvenir of an era, right? A chronological souvenir of where you've been in life's journey. And you have to protect those addresses, too. Even if you're no longer speaking with some of those people, you don't want to just hand out their addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses to anyone on the street, and if you put it in the trash you're basically doing that. Trash is public access, after all. TV and movies are full of people finding all sorts of things out about you by going through your trash, even stealing your identity. And that starts with knowing your address.

I decorated the interior with labels from sheets of collectible
 stamps, an original linocut, and misc. stickers.
That sounds good, but when the fervor dies down and your vision returns, you know you've got to get rid of it. It's no good keeping it. Small as it is, it's still taking up room and it still needs a place to go. I have a much better one and though those addresses are also going extinct, it's easier to paste over them with Moleskine paper from another notebook because this new address book is larger. So when you want to throw away something you want to keep, what do you do?

It's easier now than it was before: take a picture. In the past that would've meant turning film in for development and waiting a week to pick up another physical object to take up space in your life. Now, however, I can take a digital picture and store it on my laptop. So everyone can take a moment and meet one of my beloved Moleskines even as it's on its way out the door.

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