Monday, June 16, 2008

Technology vs The Tangible

Rob and I have been married for three and a half years now. I have learned so much during this relatively small amount of time. I understand men in general better. I understand my particular man better. Although, there are a few things that still puzzle me. Today, though, I have gained some insight into one of those things that pertains particularly to my husband.

You see, Rob has a fondness for The New Yorker magazine. And by "fondness," I mean he has an extreme obsession with this weekly periodical. So much so, that he saves every issue and has for many years now. Now, this might not be the most unreasonable thing to collect if one were willing to, say, store these magazines in the attic. But, alas, only a climate controlled environment is good enough for the storge of such a treasure of literature according to my dear husband. Living in a modest home built in the late '60s with closet space that is significantly limited, the accumulation of these magazines has been overwhelming for me. My husband is a mathematician, but I don't think he has quite grasped that our house has a finite amount of space in which we can cram boxes of New Yorkers.

This morning, though, I had a revelation. I was looking through a shoe box full of old letters, cards, notes, etc. (some of which dating as far back as my elementary school years) and the emotions that I felt and the memories that were brought back as I looked at these items were nothing short of amazing. The handwritten messages from friends and family stirred up so much inside of me. It was great to be holding these tokens of the past in my hands. I was briefly transported back to various times in my life.

Maybe this is a little of what my husband will experience in years to come when he pulls out his stash of old magazines. Maybe he'll associate those articles with happenings at different times in his life, whether personal or universal. Or maybe he'll just find pleasure in revisiting the literature of some outstanding thinkers and writers. Either way, I have a new found peace about his ever growing collection.

You see, I had suggested to Rob that he rid himself of the magazines and purchase The New Yorker dvd-roms that are now available. They are a complete archive of the last 80 years of the magazine (much, much more than he has in his collection anyway). I now realize that this would be similar to me looking back at emails from long ago on my computer and hoping to have the same experience as I had going through the shoe box. It is just not the same. I get it now. I really do.

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