It was suggested this week that we take the CDs to the charity shop.
“What, all of them?” I ask without fully understanding why a partial clear out feels less uncomfortable than getting rid of the whole lot.
I don’t even have a CD player any longer.
When my mother died she left a house full of stuff and amongst the rooms cram full of dusty history was my father’s record collection. Many of the pristine albums still had the cellophane around them as if the buying was more important than the listening.
When I was able to understand that I, on occasion, have bought things to make myself feel better it made sense that he, a man who seemed almost always unhappy, should have a liking for buying objects which gave him a moment of pleasure when he saw them and quickly dissipated when he brought them back into his own monotone life.
Under the interminable and heavy responsibility of clearing their house for sale various tasks fell between the cracks and were picked up as and when either I or my siblings noticed. By the time spring came around we were all tired of sorting through bags of nothing much which had no relevance to our lives of our memories of our dead parents.
My brother and sister arranged to sell the record collection to a dealer without my knowing and the first I knew was when I went into the now ghostly empty house to find a vast open space in the cabinets and shelves where he kept his collection pristine.
I knew what had happened and I didn’t have the energy to protest. It was too late anyway.
I thought I would find something out about my father by listening to the jazz, the classical, and peeling the wrapping from his own private misery. But it’s as likely I would have left them gathering dust and unopened myself.
Collecting logs from the garage during a particularly cold few days this week I look at the shelving which runs the whole length of one wall and on it the brown boxes of CD’s. My own album, recorded at a time of deep sadness and testament to a time I’d rather forget but know I won’t.
“What shall we do with your CD’s?”
“I’ll take them to the tip and save a few for posterity”.
I don’t know what posterity will want with them. They are all pristine in their cellophane, never taken from the box.
My old friends Adam and Lisa arrive for an impromptu visit and while I make tea Adam tells me he has been buying CDs.
“Really? Why are you buying CDs these days? You can stream more than you’d ever need” I say.
“It’s too much choice. Sometimes I can’t decide what I want to listen to. It’s good to hear something from start to finish.” he tells me.
He’s right of course. Choice doesn’t make us happy, it makes us wonder what we’re missing.
I think about my dad and how he didn’t have enough life left to listen to all the records he bought and how he wouldn’t have had enough life if he’d lived forever. I decide it’s time to buy a CD player.