On The External Hard Drive


Over the last three weeks, I have recruited my techie uncle in helping me conquer the obstacles of love, life, and hard drive space. They are all, surprisingly, very similar.

First, he gifted me an external hard drive. He shipped it to me with Amazon Prime. It is cute, small, and black.

Well, actually, “first” was him looking at my MacBook Air desktop and mumbling, “This is a mess.”

For the three weeks since we have been going back and forth, texting links to online chat rooms about Camera Roll, exporting my iPhoto Library to Flickr (which I once thought to be a website only for seventh grade aspiring photographers with DSLRs), exporting the internal hard drive to the external hard drive via Time Machine, exporting the iPhoto Library to the external hard drive via copy and paste (an all-time favorite way of moving things around), and, now, deleting the photos from my iPhoto Library, uploading the photos currently on my iPhone to my iPhoto Library, and updating all of the software on my computer, which will then enable me to update the software on my iPhone.

And I might have even missed a step. (Uncle Rich – did I miss a step?)

My greatest concern in this process was not the moment when “Backup to Flickr for iPhoto” crashed, as traumatizing as it was. It’s that I can’t fit my life into a shitload of gigabytes.

Augustus Gloop dove into Willy Wonka’s chocolate river because the rest of the chocolate at his fingertips, even in a candy factory, was not enough for him. I, like Augustus, was given a taste of something good in the form of last year’s MacBook Air and have instead taken on the task of claiming an entire body of storage space – not as good as chocolate – for my own.

My life is waterfalling into external hard drives and evaporating into cumulonimbus ‘clouds.’

But who has the right to declare the amount of storage space, which exists god-knows-where, that I should receive? Should my laptop and my 32GB iPhone be enough? Or do I have the right, like Augustus Gloop, to expand my girth?

“It’s not you, it’s me,” I’ll whisper into my MacBook’s elusive speaker as I grieve for my gluttony and overflowing storage needs. Or, perhaps, things should be different. Maybe my laptop, serving as my diary and gate to Google (all I need in this life of sin), should cower in the corner. “I’m so sorry,” it will plea, “for tricking you into thinking we’re BFFs without warning you of the limits to our love.”

Is there a guilt we should feel when we overflow?

Having my photos from the last six years at my fingertips, in a place like iPhoto or on my camera roll, is incomparably comforting in comparison to having them copied on my external hard drive or onto Flickr or anywhere else, really. And deleting things from their original location makes those things seem inaccessible, though my brand new hard drive, as sleek and black as a Kim Kardashian skirt set, is just a USB cable away. Don’t worry, Hannah, that one candid photo of you getting dressed in East Hampton on Valentine’s Day in 2009 is closer than you’d think.

It’s confusing to keep track of yourself when you’re in so many places. I don’t like to think that I can be copied and reproduced with a three-hour loading period. I don’t like to think that I can exist in thin-air. Can someone point me to this cloud you’re talking about? And can I dive into it like my dear friend Augustus once did?

“Eventually the earth will fall into the sun and even Flickr won’t help,” my uncle texted me at 7:02pm on January 31st.


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