A week ago, last Saturday morning, I finally moved all of my stuff out of Inxight to a storage center. The truck was hardly filled by the 43 boxes and a Steelcase chair that I bought at the end of a TED conference years ago. These remains of 20 years at PARC and Inxight and the emptiness of the truck and the parking lot fail to portray the incredible journey it’s been.
Like a ghost, I spent four or five hours on four or five days at Inxight in August to pack up my office. I struggled to throw out as much as I could, seeing many projects I’d never get back to, or that I hardly got started. And this at every layer of the sedimentary accumulation in boxes across PARC and Inxight moves. In the end, I threw out about a dozen boxes worth, but much I just wasn’t ready to toss yet. So along with the definitely-keep, considerable why-keep is headed to storage, maybe to be thrown out in another 20 years.
I’d like to say that in me is the archivist or scholar, and in fact I found myself justifying the packrat behavior to several friends. “I can get all those papers online, but the fact is that those sorted papers and piles of clippings are my external memories.” But really, it’s now probably about possibilities that are at best fleeting, and so perhaps the clinger or the dreamer are better characterizations.
It’s a tremendous luxury to have worked such a long apparently-continuous stretch in Silicon Valley where the new new thing sees people blazing into their future with no memory of care of their past. It’s not like I imagined going down the track for twenty years in this way. Nor is it really like that. At each stop, it made sense, felt right, for me to get back on the train I was on. It really has felt more like that then being at one station all that time. And you know what? I’m riding that train again, and it’s exciting in a way that feels really different.
- I also took 6 boxes home (so the real total is 49 boxes). Recent active stuff and the books and papers I’ll be using. The higher speed main memory, which makes me think about how much storage all this represents. Roughly 5000 pages per box, so say 2.5 Gb per box, so roughly 15 Gbytes brought home, and 90 Gbytes to storage for 36 boxes of paper or books (the rest is video & computer media).