In January, I went to lunch with a friend. She asked what my “coolest” Christmas gift was.
“My son gave me two Wilco CDs,” I said.
“Which ones?” she asked.
“I don’t know. I just put them on my ipod.”
Are we losing our senses? Is the feel of life slipping away? Maybe even the sight and smell. Although taste and hearing appear to be safe for the moment.
Do you remember the cover of “Tapestry”? Carol King in jeans one knee up as she sat on the window seat with her cat. The brick wall behind Neil Young on “After the Gold Rush”? The orange unicorn on the cover of The Catcher in the Rye?
Don’t get me wrong. The electronic revolution is doing a lot of good. My entire music collection is safe on my ipod—shelves and shelves boiled down to a rectangle two inches by four. With my Kindle, I can be reading a book in seconds and take a gazillion books with me in my purse. These are good things.
“Well, what did the CDs look like?” my friend asked.
“I don’t know,” I said again. “One was white, I think.”
If we don’t need books anymore, we won’t need bookmarks. Will book stores go the way of record stores? No more cover art?
But there’s cover flow, you say. True enough.
I’m not saying we’re not living in a world of progress. We’ll be saving trees and creating less waste.
When I got home from lunch that day, I dug through my drawers of CDs until I found the two new ones. The one I remembered as white was actually grey with a broken egg shell on it. “A Ghost is Born.” The other one had a single bird, an eagle maybe, flying on a white sky—“Sky Blue Sky.”
My favorite album covers hang in frames on my wall. Do you think…? Surely not. But just in case, we should try to remember the details. So we can tell our great-grandchildren. A book was heavy in our hands, we’ll say. The paper and ink together smelled like a new book. No, that won’t work anymore.