Thursday, October 06, 2005

Disposable Disposability

There are always interesting and often perplexing items in the trash at our apartment building. We live in a part of town where the residents range from liberal gen-Xers, conservative gen-Xers, young neocons, gay preps, and empty nest baby boomers. No matter what classification one might be they all seem to throw away perfectly good items. Furniture, pots, pans, personal pictures, clothes have all graced our dumpster. It would be quite possible to modestly furnish and equip a small apartment with the items left behind at our dumpster.

The latest additions could no doubt be brought to the graveyard by a gay man. Yesterday morning my partner walked down the stairwell to the garage to find the top of the dumpster covered with old gay porn magazines and next to the dumpster, a box of old tapes. He neglected to tell me until we were in bed that night so the next morning I bounded down the stairs to document the excrement but all that was left was the box of tapes that I've captured.

As the day went on I had been thinking a lot about the picture I took. Most of the tapes were in perfect condition, still in their jackets, and fully equipped with their booklets. How could someone throw away perfectly good tapes? Has our culture become so disposable that we don' think twice about throwing away perfectly good items?

Then I realized that they were tapes and that the days of the walkman have been replaced by iPods and downloadable music.

I contemplated the picture again and it a wave of melancholy came over me. I remembered how it felt when I got a new tape. One of the first things I did after getting through the impregnable plastic wrapping was open the box and pull out he sleeve and look at the pictures of the artist or band I had just purchased. It felt like I owned a part of them.

Gone is the tactile sensation of getting new music. The only thing that could closely resemble the feeling is the abstract satisfaction of the "click" when iTunes asks me if I'm sure I want to make the purchase and I choose yes. There's no CD or tape, no booklet with pictures of the artist or band.

I went back and rescued some of the inserts from a selection of the albums: Tina Turner, Morrissey, KD Lang, Duran Duran, and New Order. In some odd and post-modern way I was reliving days gone by spent with my sister parousing the aisles of Tower Records. After all it was only the inserts that mattered. What would I do with a tape?


Blogger tornwordo said...

Tapes are for walkmans. But everyone probably already threw theirs away.

5:17 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

I know. I have so many good memories attached to tapes though so it was weird seeing them in the trash. I'm a sap for nostalgia.

9:09 AM  
Blogger tim said...

Hey, I still have my Walkman. Plus I still have tapes. I love that post. I always read the insert before I even finish the CD.

12:58 PM  

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