Saturday, April 2, 2016


I was impressed in 10th grade Latin to learn that the Latin for baggage was "impedimenta".  There are other translations but that is what we used in Caesar's Gallic Wars.  I know that some baggage is valuable and precious, not just an impediment.  I thought some notes I had made from previous semesters were valuable luggage but using our Apple IIe without paying attention to what I was doing erased my disc of notes.  For about 20 seconds, I was enraged, saddened, very excited in a negative way.  Then, I recalled my longtime habit of not really using my notes.  I realized that they were mostly a bit out of date and that what seemed best in those courses had new and different directions. Losing those notes was a lesson.

Reading and applying "Clutter's Last Stand" by Don Anslett underlined the diminishing value of objects, paper or three-dimensional, over time.  So far, I haven't been the victim of "ransomware" where a file is sent to my computer that locks it up.  I understand that paying ransom to have it unlocked is rarely successful and that it is better if I can arrange to simply let go of what might be frozen or lost.  Since the past is not really here and is only partially reconstructed by memories, scrapbooks and old pictures, it is not really possible to re-visit the early day of our marriage or my teaching or the self I was when I first read "Walden".

My memories are current, they are what I have now.  The memorabilia that I have now are also current.  They have meaning and value for me now but I don't have to work or strive or save to keep them or their meanings.  Someday, I may look at the little vase from my grandmother's house and not remember what it is or what it has represented for me.  It is good to have the memories but it is also good to be baggage-free.

Much of the current hullabaloo and competition over "cloud" computing seems built on the expectation that I will want to store every jot and tittle (what's a tittle?), that I will want to pay someone to keep all my stuff handy and ready.  Yet, given enough time, I won't know what I have.  I won't know why I have it or what it meant.  Given enough time, all that stuff won't mean anything.  Anslett impressed on me the truth that losing or smashing or selling the little vase won't make it be true that I didn't love my grandmother or she, me.  The fact is that nothing can make that true. So, ha!

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