Just the other day, I came upon my old collection of music CDs. It was and still is an eclectic mix of songs, singers and lyrics, one that should not be discarded so easily.
Except that I did.
Now that I have my laptop almost with me wherever I go, I find the need to dig out CDs becoming less and less...needy. Being very much a child of the digital age, I have taken to downloading, sending, and receiving songs amongst my friends.
All the while, my old collections sits alone, gathering the dust, and biting it for good measure (yes, Queen is amongst those hidden in the sleeves).
I dusted them off, and took it downstairs to where the CD player is. I have had that since 1999; a loyal servant, it has kept me much company through the lonely nights of the winter of 1999, inspiration through my high school exams of 2000, and melancholic appreciation of the first time I had my heart broken in August (September?) 2004.
I only recently took it out of storage to plug an empty looking space in the living room; it, too, has become a victim.
I put on the CD, and leaned back in the couch, letting the events of the day wash over me. It struck me, as Queen's "Bicycle" echoed against the surrounding walls, that this is a form of the digital divide. Not one that happens between the 1st and 3rd world, nor one between the urban and rural communities. It's not even the one taking place between the class reality that is Malaysia today: between the haves and the have-nots.
It is here, right now, live, the one that divides me from a technology that I no longer depend on. One that had given me much pleasure and satisfaction in the past, but superceded by the simplicity of the mobile: wireless Internet, laptop, mobile external hard drives with thousands of songs that would take 3.4 days (it says here on my iTunes) to play through, back to back. The digital divide, I realise, happens even on the smallest of stages, in our every day lives, on technologies that may still be current.
Just not as current as the latest one.
And I think back to the songs that aren't on my hard drive, to the singers who whose immortality merely extends to the spherical existence afforded by my old CDs.
Nat King Cole.
And Britney Spears.
Now, as for my cassettes...