It occurs to me in the shower, I pause mid-lather to consider just how I’m going to clean up my things. Lightning strikes in the form of the computer science analogy of space and time tradeoffs. The physical memory available to this running program, this running household, mutable executable is the space of our house, which is positively mansionly in juxtaposition with the humble abodes we kipped in throughout China, Nepal, and India. Unfortunately as a programme we have accumulated plenty of bloat and cruft, in the form of many unneeded unwanted possessions that have somehow managed to leave hooks in heart, they must go but we are loathe to free them, in night they crouch sucking air larger than life, in day we fragment them in attempts to organize and they loom still larger.
My room bestrewn with books should-have-been-read, binders of notes promising collegiate insight into indeterminate futures, replicas of art enough to pave wallspace three times over, backpacks enough to supply an outing club, coins, envelopes, unwashed understuffs, cheesy more importantly useless plaques for academic achievement way back when, boxes boxing exuberant seam-bursting contents. As I sift and sort the mess gets bigger, I am looking for a way out before I am forced out by the towering, growing mass of occupation, I am running away it is chasing me like kudzu in a nightmare. If granted the leniency, indulged with more space than just enough we start being profligate, we spend our space as if we had a vast virtual memory on tap, swap out this junk for some breathing room. Sorry, the real world holds for no such promise of virtual spaces. Haw-Wen swapped her car out to Boulder, lemme just say it’s a good thing this program isn’t blocked on that resource! We’ve found that sorting this unordered growth in-place requires plenty of time. Too much. But that’s the tradeoff. Boxed in, what to do?
We start treating this junk like the garbage it is. Not that it was always worthless, but things are valuable in usage, not long time storage. Such relics if not endowed with magical properties have long lost luster in our eyes, if only we could admit it and loosen our grasp on absurd fantasies of utility, on the things of the past. We start snipping the threads binding us to too much, waiting for signals, interrupts cues that will never arrive. Making gifts of the excess wholesale. Grabbing space as if it were happiness. I’ll bet binaries can make it to heaven too, as they get lighter and lighter from releasing the greed, releasing the hoarded treasures, releasing themselves whispering off up into the clouds, a trace of light empty in size and bearable lightness.