Friday, August 10, 2012

The Detritus of Age

Last week I lost my sweet little camera, as you will recall, and as a result spiraled into a full-blown mental health panic. (Finishing the first draft of the work-in-progress probably helped a bit there.) Before I finally found it, since it is so small, I was forced to delve into every cardboard box, plastic storage container, and drawer in the house where we have lived for the last thirty years.

As I rummaged in those drawers I was reminded of the days when I was a child visiting my maternal grandparents. My grandfather was a civil engineer with hobbies and government responsibilities (not that different from my husband's), and as a result the collect-all drawers in his house also held the detritus of technologies past. Fountain pens whose rubber bladders were too old and cracked to hold ink any more. Yellowing forms for use by defunct government agencies. Bright sticks of red sealing wax. Rotted rubber bands that stuck together. Glue made from horsehide, long dried up. And dried up bottles of ink.

The (more or less) modern equivalent of this collection is the junk in our hold-all drawers. My grandfather's were so much more romantic and interesting. Now I just look at this stuff and say to myself, Where does this plug go? What happened to the computer that used to be able to read these floppy disks? What do these rubber feet belong to? Where did the last thirty years go?

What's in your drawers? Does it please you or appall you? Or shouldn't I bring it up at all?

Kate Gallison


  1. It appalls me - the topic, not your blog!!! Boxes and drawers and plastic containers of all those little bits of wire and plugs and thingamahjigs that I have no earthly idea what goes with what! Or can they ever be used on this earth again!!!Time to get a ticket on the next tourist flight to Mars where you can start over fresh!! With all the brand new wires and plugs NASA has gleefully invented! tjs

  2. Kate, you just read about the Patricia and David free Mini-storage in our old attic. Sever boxes from that debacle are still hanging around my NYC apartment. If things improve here, I'll let you know.
    Thelma, I have a plot in my head for a Sci-Fi short story based on those boxes of old computer wires we all have in our closets. Aliens attack the earth because they are starving and that stuff is their food. I call the story SPAgetyyyyyy!

  3. As my best friend John Corey ( see my blog in a few weeks on him ) would say... are we all nuts, or what!!! In my case , the heat has gone to my head! What's your excuse! Maybe you're both geniuses!!! tjs

    1. T, the email address I have for you isn't working. Send me an email so I get it right. xxx

  4. Annamaria, a surefire story idea for Weird Tales!