I was having a conversation with my daughter the other day. It wasn’t a real conversation, mind you, but a modern-day back-and-forth via text message, which I initiated when I asked her what would happen to my large, impressive and eclectic music collection once I kick the bucket.
Despite the inordinate amount of time I spend in cemeteries these days, I’m really not worried about dying anytime soon, but I am worried about my music, which I think points to a real generational difference. You see, I’ve spent years collecting things and trying to make them last, only to discover that none of that seems to matter anymore.
My daughter pointed out that she really doesn’t need my collection because she can listen to anything and everything I’ve ever collected simply by subscribing to a service like Spotify. But how, I asked, will you remember what was important to me? How will you know what I liked if you don’t have physical copies?
And therein lies the difference in how our generations think. She was joking, of course, but said something about putting together a playlist that I could listen to on my deathbed. I laughed, but that really wasn’t my point.
Just the way my parents could never quite grasp the concept of e-mail, I can’t quite wrap my head around “The Cloud.” I know you can buy music and listen to it on all your devices — in fact I’ve done so myself. But where the hell is it exactly? You see, I don’t thinkThe Cloud understands sentimentality, and that’s me, sentimental to a fault!
I know this sounds unintentionally greedy and materialistic, but I’m from a generation where possessions meant something, and I find it curious that many people don’t think of things in the same way anymore. Yes, you can still listen to my old music, but you can’t touch it. That’s a problem for me, and it’s the same thing with books, movies, even photographs!
I understand the convenience. I understand that The Cloud doesn’t weigh anything, and doesn’t take up any space in a young person’s tiny apartment. I contrast that with my collection of books, movies, CDs and vinyl records, and I realize that if I ever move again, I’ll need boxes and boxes to carry all this crap that I always believed someone would want.
Yes, The Cloud is convenient, but it’s raining on my parade.
Today, when I opened the tins containing my old 45s, I was able to touch them, smile at the titles and take a walk down memory lane before ever placing a needle in a groove. Can any of you do the same with The Cloud? No, I didn’t think so!