I am a serious packrat. Not just of objects, but of emails and phone messages too. I have 25,000+ emails in my aol account. It became too arduous a task to go through them once I switched over to gmail, so I’ve continued to let them accumulate. At this point, I’m going for the record! I’ve held on to the aol address to give out to online order companies, which so far has helped to keep my gmail safe from spam.
While email can collect indefinitly, it’s not the same for phone and text messages. Every few months I get a message on my cellphone that my voice mailbox is full. This week marks two years since my father died and I can’t bring myself to erase the many phone messages that my mother left me from his hospital room over his six-week stay. The fact that he was in the room with her while she was speaking to me, chronicling his condition, is what compels me to hold on to them. Every once in awhile I replay them. It’s like a story where you already know the ending, but you can’t help re-reading it; a story with an unsatisfying ending. You read it again with the possibility that this time it won’t have the same inevitable conclusion.
I still have a good old fashioned address book as well, which contains many names and contact information of family and friends I’ve lost. I’ve given up whiting it out. I find it comforting to know that I’m forever tethered to each and every one of them…in a kind of time warp of memory.