I like my stuff. I take pride in my stuff. The stuff a person accumulates is a fast, fascinating window into a person's soul.
It is for this reason that I don't like certain facets of technology. With everything going digital--from books to movies to shopping--society is quickly ridding itself of interesting stuff, to be replaced with cold, compartmentalized stuff that is stored on one small device or some untouchable cloud on the internet. These new toys are more efficient, but they are rapidly taking away from the personality and culture of society. At least, I think so.
Maybe I'm just a materialistic person. Until recently, I was never able to justify buying myself stuff--I had to rely on others to get me books, porcelain dolls, and clothes. So special stuff was a rare commodity growing up, saved for birthdays and Christmas, thus my appreciation for them increased tenfold. I took great pride in my possessions, and my possessions reflected my personality.
My room was a haven of sorts for me growing up, because, aside from the hole in the closet wall from when Tyrel was skateboarding in my room and a few trinkets my sisters donated to my elegant "display cases," everything there was mine--the stuff on the walls, the furniture, the discarded CD cases, the bedding, the fuzzy posters--it all screamed me. My individuality was very important to me as a teenager, and, while I was too insecure to show my individuality around most people, my room didn't cover anything up.
The last time I slept in that room, though, was a strange experience. I took everything with me when I moved to Midvale a month ago, including my furniture and most of my trinkets. Even my fuzzy posters were gone, along with the picture of the Italian man who was on display in my high school choir room for a month (Mr. D. somehow ended up with a calendar with pictures of Italian men all wearing the same dorky, striped shirt, and he wouldn't ever let us peak through the calendar to compare pictures; each had to be viewed for an entire month before moving on to the next weird-looking guy. He was weird that way).
It didn't feel like my bedroom anymore. A lot of people talk about how strange it feels to return home after living on your own for a while, but I never felt that way. The feeling of being in a permanent home never takes long to settle in. But this time, I was a guest sleeping in a strange room full of mismatched furniture and an ironing board. The individuality was gone.
This is the way I feel when I hear about the hit publishing has taken because of e-books, the Blockbuster stores that are going out of business because of Red Boxes and online video streaming, and the decline in CD sales because of the popularity of iTunes. There's a lot less clutter in our lives, but it comes at a high price.
Needless to say, I'm pretty sure I buy more stuff than the average Y-gen techie. I'm not necessarily a pack rat, but I do have my things. In our living room, our fireplace mantelpiece is lined with my movies, most of which are chick flicks (thank goodness for the $5 movie bin). I recently decided to invest in buying one Disney movie a month, partly so I can add "variety" to my movie collection, partly because I think Disney movies are essential to any movie library, and partly because I love having something to look forward to getting in the mail. (Despite my gripes about technology, online shopping is a wonderful thing.)
I don't know what others feel when they walk in my room, but I am usually struck by this thought: Wow, I'm a book nerd. I have 2 bookcases full of books, and I also have a bookcase-designed quilt hanging on my wall. On the walls are various cross stitch projects I have finished, and throughout the room are useless little trinkets I have held on to over the years, including the orange (the fruit)-themed tea set my grandma Pat gave me years ago, my collection of quarters, my earrings, and my spoons. I decided long ago that I was going to procure a souvenir spoon from every major place that I visited, and my collection holds a whopping 4 spoons--from Disneyland, Yellowstone, San Diego, and DC. (Vegas should be there too, but I forgot to get one while I was there and there is absolutely no way I'm going back there to get one. Once again, I love online shopping.)
It may be frivolous, it may be cumbersome, and it may not make sense, but I like stuff, whether it is mine or someone else's. "Stuff" always comes with a story, even if it is something as simple as "My cousin gave me this when we were in 7th grade."
I realize that not everything we have will become digital; for example, I don't think digital blankets and digital dishes will do us a lot of good. Whether we like it or not, some things will just have to be solid and concrete. Nevertheless, books, music, and movies are all a big part of my life, and they seem to be the things that society is slowly disposing of.
However, as long as people realize that there is still a need for concrete stuff, society can go on streaming and I'll keep on collecting.