So yes. My new phone has ingested several thousand of my sister’s old contacts and a dainty portion of my own, and I am straightening out the mess by hand. It’s coming along well; I’m nearly done with the back forty and should be finishing up ‘long about month’s end when the stagecoach comes through.
I am making a point to delete all the contacts I don’t recognize. Then I add in the ones that aren’t in there that should be in there.
I know what you’re thinking. There’s no point in deleting, Boomer. It doesn’t matter how many people you have in your contact list. You don’t have to memorize them anymore. The idea that you need to slim down your contact list is a sign that you’re an old person.
But I feel compelled to a degree of tidiness here that is reflected nowhere else in my life. Give me this.
Because this thing feels like a junk drawer, full of orphaned knobs, mystery keys, old twist-ties. Just shut the drawer, I’m told, but the sight offends my senses. I just know one of those unknown contacts is the potato masher that will turn sideways and I’ll never be able to open that drawer again.
Here’s another sign I’m old: I have already deleted quite a number of people that God deleted first. Without a twinge, mind you: I don’t litter the roadside with teddy bears and I don’t need dead people in my contact list unless the smart phones get way smarter.
Once I’ve deleted my mystery contacts on the new phone, I go to the old phone to add in people I really do know. Yes, those contacts are supposed to be on the new phone, because I shlorped them over with a handy shlorping app, but they’re not. I’m not troubling myself with “why” anymore. As it is, I feel lucky I didn’t pick up the contact list of the dude walking down the alley when he stopped to drain his Weimaraner.
Lots of people have trouble throwing things away. They think they might need that metal clip some day, or that doorknob, or that hand-scrawled note that no longer makes sense. But I’m surrounded by perfectly useful items like mops and scrub brushes that apparently I’ve never found a use for. So hitting “delete” is easy for me.
After all, my own brain has decided all on its own what I don’t need to know anymore. I’ll be searching for a name, or a word, or the reason I walked into a room, and my brain says “Shh, there, there, you don’t need to know that,” and I’ve finally come to accept it. It’s been a two-step process for my brain: first, go to the Data Department and poke a bunch of holes in it; second, pop over to the department that is supposed to monitor all the loss of inventory in the Data Department, and sing to it until it quits investigating. There was about a five-year lag between step one and step two but now I’m feeling better about it all. I’m pretty sure the third step will involve wearing a medical alert bracelet.
In the meantime, this doesn’t hurt my writing at all. You have to get really creative with your metaphors when you can’t come up with the word you wanted in the first place.