As I start to pack for the impending move, I am finding the usual odd and end things you just can't seem to get rid of, yet should, yet don't. I have two shoeboxes full of cassette tapes that are those "mixed tapes" we all made in high school and college. As I scanned the titles, I was instantly able to remember where I was, who I was thinking of, the club where I'd heard a particular song, or the situation involving this that or the other song.
I subscribe to Napster to fill my MP3 player, and I spent about 2 hours going through the tapes and downloading songs that I didn't have to it. Most of the time, I knew the actual title of the song, but there were some that I had no idea what the song even was and had written just a few words from the chorus. And, funny thing, I have no idea where to find a tape player to listen to the cassette to find out.
My old "boom box" with the dual cassette players was given away in Chicago in the Summer Move to Boston of 2004. A cassette Walkman is packed somewhere amidst old serial/non-USB computer cables, a 5 1/2 inch floppy disc drive, and a couple of CD Walkman's in a box labeled "Electronics." So, I guessed one day I would find a way to listen to the tape, tossed it back in the box, and moved on.
Once I was done going through one of the boxes of cassette tapes, I found I couldn't bear to throw any of them away. Again, I have nothing to play them on, most of the music is now on a CD or on my computer, and yet, there's something special about those cassette tapes. How many hours did I spend picking out just the right music? Putting it in just the right order so there would be a certain flow. Carefully writing out the names, or in some cases typing out the names and making labels. I can't get rid of them.
I think of the burning crushes and the unrequited love I had in college, the dance songs of Tijuana and Rosarito where my best friend Melinda and I danced for hours in a tequila haze. I remembered the inspirational music that carried me through some of my teenage angst and rebellion. The makeout music and the songs that came with the breakup.
I can't get rid of them. I may still have them when I am 90, and I am listening to music waves directly into my brain through my implanted audio assist device. They'll have been converted from cassette to digital to direct mind wave format. So, I better keep that box. For now.