Monday, July 5, 2010

On obsolescence

I'm not certain, but I'm inclined to believe that recently personal technology has advanced so rapidly that, when one finds herself packing and reorganizing for a move, such as I, a lot of "stuff" has become obsolete between move-in and move-out.  For years you could trust that, especially in a town full of students, interns, and underpaid Congressional and non-profit staffers, you could list a tube TV or VCR for sale and have several offers to buy them.  Now everything is digital, and I have the dilemma of what to do with a CD tower, of all things.

I inherited a pair of CD towers from a friend when she headed for the hills, and my first thought upon seeing them was "plant stand."  For five years, one of them actually served as a CD tower for those CDs (read: less than 10) that I owned that actually had cases they could call home.  The other tower served as a baseball hat rack.  Neither of them ever became a plant stand.  I jettisoned one, which had a broken bar or two, and now I'm contemplating listing the other one on Craigslist.  Except, it occurred to me that even if you still owned CDs, you certainly didn't still have the CD case, did you?  I had just spent the better part of a few hours extricating the paper inserts from the few audio CD cases I owned, in preparation for recycling them.  There's a collection box at work for either the CD Recycling Center of America or GreenDisk.  What do I need those jewel cases for?  Some crafty mom website recommended using them (or old CDs, I can't remember which) as paint palettes for kids.  Right.....I'll do that with my imaginary kids.

And, in recent years, I have been laughed almost out of my own car several times when I informed people I was transporting that, no, I didn't have an iPod-to-stereo adapter, you'll have to bring CDs.  Yes, I had an iPod by this point, but I have never been on the forefront of personal technology purchases.   But, consider this: when I first moved into this space, only three generations of the iPod Classic and one generation of the iPod Mini (remember that?) had been released, and when you bought one of the then-new VW Beetles, you got a free engraved iPod for kicks.  Only the cool kids had iPods, and in certain communities, you were advised to swap out the signature white iPod headphones for those of a different color, lest you identify yourself to iPod muggers.  For its part, iTunes was nascent, and most people just ripped the CDs they already owned, and converted them into digital files.  All a way of saying that, when I first moved in, digital music was new, and most of us got our music fix from CDs.  I wouldn't have thought twice about selling a CD tower on Craigslist.  I'll try my luck, but I'm not optimistic.  There may be a plant stand hanging out in the corner of my bedroom yet.