I should know. In my relatively short time on earth, I have lived in Glasgow, Boston/Newton, Glasgow (again), Louisville, St. Louis, London (if you count one semester during college), St. Louis (again), Asheville, St. Louis (yup...again), Indianapolis, St. Louis (seriously, people...) and our little stint in Ann Arbor last fall. And, of course, I have lived in numerous residences here in St. Louis, so if you add it all up I have packed and lugged my belongings around a fair piece. And I still hate it.
Even though we are making a concerted effort to cut down on the amount of crap we own and, therefore are required to take to Michigan with us, it still leaves a BUNCH. And while I'm trying to work my way judiciously through the detritus of my past, it's hard not to get blind-sided by memories at each and every turn.
Tonight, I came across a box Chris had dragged up from the basement containing the last of my tape collection. Tapes! Those wonderful little gadgets, tracks rolling between two wheels inside the plastic shell. Talk about a trip down memory lane. With acquisitions dating from high school through college and, maybe, just a little beyond, it's fascinating to revisit who you were and who you still are through music.
I pulled out my De La Soul tape (Three Feet High and Rising) and listened to the first few numbers, memories flooding back. A mix tape yielded a little Smiths, some Sugarcubes, the Pixies and 10,000 Maniacs. The Darling Buds and Yo La Tengo wouldn't even play, the tape itself refusing to roll along the tracks.
Paul Westerberg. The Connell's Boylan Heights inside a cracked shelf. A handful of REM, 24-7 Spyz (really?), Poi Dog Pondering, Mary's Danish, Roxy Music, The Sundays, Peter Gabriel, Fine Young Cannibals, Echo & the Bunnymen. And buried in an unmarked tape case, stuffed in the back of the box - Carly Simon's Greatest Hits.
There! I've said it!
I'm not proud. But there it is, a huge chunk of my past, told in soundtrack form, a pile of plastic and tiny reels. All the music I loved, plus music I tried to love for a boy or a friend or a boyfriend. The guilty pleasures, the mix tapes with whole sections in the middle taped over.
What a trip, man. What a trip.
I'd like to say I was brave and pared down the collection, knowing full well that the music I love from that era I now possess on CD or in mp3 format. I did, in fact, toss the ones that wouldn't play anymore and the ones I just didn't care for much in the first place.
But the rest of them? They went right back in the box. Which went right back in the living room, back to where I discovered it earlier tonight. There's a chance I'll take a look at them in fresher light and decide to let them take their place on that landfill out there with my name on it.
There's also a chance that I'll discreetly tape up the box, stick it inside another and move it with me again, its contents practically intact.
At this point, I'd say the odds are about even.