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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.

Terry Teachout has a list of things he either doesn't see or do anymore -- things which twenty-first century life has made obsolete, at least for his life. It's a pretty interesting list, although there are a couple of items that take me back a bit.

First, I no longer use floppy discs anymore either, but I do use CD-R's for backup purposes, and I do plan one of these days to do some backing up to my G-mail account, seeing as how I've got a whole GB just sitting there with all of six e-mail messages in it. But I don't want to forsake having a physical disc on hand. I'm still very wary of relying entirely on digital means of storing my stuff.

Second, I still use the USPS for most of my package shipping -- no, all of my package shipping. It's simply easier for me to do so. I have no idea if UPS or FedEx are cheaper -- maybe they are -- but I've yet to live in a place where the local post office isn't more conveniently located to me than the nearest place I'd go to use UPS or FedEx. (Those UPS Stores are popping up more, but still, the post office is closer.)

Third, I find the one that stops me in my tracks. Mr. Teachout doesn't use the public library at all. I am forever mystified by people who don't use their libraries. I've always had a library card, but a few years back I had the epiphany that I simply don't have unlimited space to buy every book that I might want to read, and if there's a book that I know I want to read but I know I don't want to own, why should I buy a copy anyway? I'm a huge believer in libraries, and I simply do not understand the mindset of people who don't use them. Heck, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library has enough of a DVD collection that I see no reason to use NetFlix for movies -- I have access, through the library system, to more films than I'll ever have a chance to see, so why pay for a service to bring them to me? (I know, NetFlix has a far larger selection from which to choose, but that's not enough of a concern for me.)

I also love just walking through the library, finding things that I might never have picked up in the first place. Amazon, I find, is good for grabbing specific items, but it's not very good for browsing -- especially since they switched on that "Search the Entire Text" search engine juggernaut of theirs.

Of course, Mr. Teachout is older than I, and I presume he makes quite a bit more money, so a number of factors that bring me faithfully to the library every week likely don't apply to him. But to never use the library, at all? To buy a copy of every book one might need or want, even in passing? Ugh!

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