Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Winter cleaning

I’m doing some clearing up around the house, and last night I decided it was time to get rid of a bunch of old reel-to-reel tapes with music recorded on them. My reel-to-reel tape deck hasn’t worked in years (I brought that to the electronics recycling center over the weekend), and, what with changes in technology, I hadn’t been missing it, and would be unlikely to listen to the tapes again anyway.

With the assumption that no one else will want them either (or, rather, that it would be too much trouble to try to find them a home), I took out some packing tape and bound them together in stacks of ten. It turns out that I have 138 of them. They’re recorded at 3¾ inches per second (not the audiophile method, but I wanted more music on each tape), making it three hours per side, 6 hours per tape. Each was recorded by hand from LPs (Remember them?), and, so, 138 tapes times 6 hours each comes to well over 800 hours spent making them.

They were packed for the trash inside of fifteen minutes.

Even though I haven’t listened to them in more than 20 years, even though I would never be listening to them again, even though it felt good to see the space they took up become empty, I still felt a little sad to think about those many hours I spent on them, and to realize that at least half were probably never listened to even once after they were made.

It makes one think a bit about what one spends one’s time on.

P.S. It's 11:11 on 1/11/11.

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