086. Low Disk Space

tldr: what we hold onto

this semester i needed to download mathematica for my math homework. i refused to multiply and divide cubic polynomials by hand. but when i went to download the application, my laptop yelled back warning: low disk space. in response, i deleted some steam game i haven’t played in ages, freeing up just barely enough room, and downloaded mathematica.

two weeks later, and I wanted to download hollow knight on my laptop. surprise surprise, but my laptop didn’t like that either. so, for the first time since my freshman year of college, I deleted all of my downloads and pictures i had stored on my device. these weren’t like, personal photos of friends and family. they were problemsets and essays and figures i put in psets over the years. it was three years worth of homework taking up a total of nine gigabytes on my laptop, eight of which immediately went to hollow knight.

the low disk space hasn’t gone away. it lurks there, in the background, and on my mind.

last night, i started packing up my boxes for storage squad. i had gotten the cardboard boxes earlier that day, and was anxious to use them. and i thought about all the previous years i had gone through the same process.

my freshman year, when i came to college, i lived out of two suitcases and a backpack. by the end of that year, i had acquired enough dorm room essentials and winter clothing to warrant buying two storage squad storage boxes. but that was it. two boxes, two suitcases, and a backpack. my life essence. my baggage.

my sophomore year, alpha delta phi stored my boxes, which meant i didn’t need to skimp on packing. i could just throw all my things into the cardboard boxes next house provided, lug it over seven blocks, and throw it in their basement. this time, in total, i had two cartloads of boxes, two suitcases, and a backpack. my life, in a sweltering sweaty basement of a fraternity house, rotting slowly as i went home.

now, because i am doing summer research in western massachusetts, i need to use storage squad again. and i’m sorry, but i don’t need to keep carrying all these old books from the physics reading room anymore. i don’t need to store clothes that don’t fit anymore. i’m running low on disk space, and i need to free up some room.

so late at night, i went to work.

i started with my clothing. sweaters and fleece leggings and winter coats got their own box. my growing collection of puzzles, and the books (i wanted to keep) got another. the rest of my freshly laundered laundry went into their respective suitcases. and after hours of labor, i looked around at the remaining artifacts of my room.

the stuff i hadn’t parted ways with, but the stuff i couldn’t keep anymore either.

the first winter coat i got my freshman year of college. black and sleek and feminine, which reminded me of you. the pair of winter boots to match. a book on number theory your parents got me. a life i never had.

and i gathered these objects– artifacts no more. i threw them in the garbage.

my disk space is low.

Published by Paige Bright

Hi- my name is Paige Alexandria Bright. I am a rising junior at MIT interested in mathematics and philosophy. I have been writing this blog since the beginning of COVID. Lets see where this goes.

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