As part of a continuing effort towards a lifestyle of owning exactly what I need in my life and nothing more, I've decided it would be wise to list and describe the things in my life which I hold dear to my heart. The following is not to be a display of objectophilia, but a reinforcement of my justifications for having what I have, and also therefore not wanting what is “more than enough”.
Two floor-lamps and a swinging-arm desk lamp. Most rooms in my apartment have insufficient or improper lighting, so these three lamps provide ample illumination. At any given time in the evening, my home is lit by no more than two of these three lamps: both floor lamps if I am reading in my room, or a floor lamp and my desk lamp if I am working in my office (one acts more or less as a beacon). The rest of my apartment remains shrouded in darkness if I am not visiting a particular room, other than my office or my room.
One thirteen inch frying pan purchased from Ikea in January 2008 as part of a $100 gift-card given to me by a stranger who had heard I was moving into an empty apartment (thanks John). This frying pan has cooked me breakfasts and suppers for over three years without fail. The handle is sturdy and rigid and comfortable. The pan is smooth and stick-free and cleans easily under the tap. The underside has the familiar age-marks of a years-old pan—burns and water stains— and the side is dented from an April 2010 tumble to my kitchen floor. But the more it ages and the more I stress it, the more it becomes mine and the less I desire to replace it.
One thirty inch Apple Cinema Display purchased July 2009, refurbished for $1599. Nothing about minimalism says things ought to be small. I had lusted after this display for years, and in the summer of 2009, my 20 inch LG LCD up and died. As someone who spends large portions of his waking life at a computer, I decided this was the display for me. Immediately, I felt more comfortable writing, coding, and reading documentation. It's the anxious feeling of five tasks precariously stacked upon one another melting away as all five are now sitting in a row, each safely resting on the floor. Before the purchase, I had some worries about buying a refurbished unit, but in the nearly two years I've been using this display, I have yet to find a single flaw. The stand is sturdy, but the display tilts without a squeak. The screen is beautiful and bright (half-brightness is my usual setting and it's perfectly sufficient almost always). The buttons are responsive and easy to find (they are the same touch buttons as found on the 3rd Generation iPods).
One pair of Paper Denim & Cloth jeans, sized 31x32, purchased November 2007 for $197. These were the first pair of jeans to ever truly fit me perfectly. I have not been able to ever find a similar pair since. I still wear them often to this day. While they were originally a deep dark blue (so blue, in fact, they used to dye the tops of my socks), they have since slowly faded through the washes. The left leg has a distinct rectangular fade on the thigh due to my phone always being held in my left front pocket. The jeans, though old, remain well-sewn, devoid of tatter or fray.
One pair of Rayban eyeglass spectacles with plastic lenses (not Wayfarer), purchased September 2009 for $199. For a long time I had been a contact-lens wearer, the type which were left in for thirty days-and-nights at a time. After a few years, my eyes became more irritable to the lenses no matter the duration of wear, and I decided it was time to stop wearing them and move to something easier on my eyes. Aside from looking nice (so I'm told; I'm myopic), these eyeglasses help me see very well, they are very light, stay on my face, have no glare, and generally do their job precisely as I'd like them to.
One Rev A MacBook Pro Core Duo 2 GHz purchased August 2006 for $2149 and one Rev A Mac Pro dual dual-core Xeon 3 GHz purchased August 2006 for $3999. The MacBook Pro has been my portable development machine since it was purchased. It has dutifully run Mac OS X Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard. It has at times been my sole machine for month-long periods (May-September 2007 & January-April 2010). It has two scuffs on its shell from the first month I had it (without a proper carrying bag) and one dent on the front. These identify it as mine. It has an 80 GB harddisk which at any given time has 30 GB free. I keep almost no media on it. It shows its age in its slowness (but I'm convinced an extra gigabyte of memory and a solid state disk would revive it handsomely). Slow though it may feel, it works very well and performs its task of coding-on-the-go well. The Mac Pro has been upgraded with 9 GB of memory and two additional harddisks (with space for a fourth). I do the majority of my work with it. Every day it feels like a brand new machine. It feels as fast today as it did August 2006. It turns on instantly, it works silently (the noisiest parts being the disks—when they're not asleep), and it processes relentlessly.
One iPhone 4 purchased July 2010 for $165, replacing iPhone 3G (given to my sister), which replaced an original iPhone (sold in 2008). iPhone 3Gs was a lovely phone but at the time, my iPhone 3G was fully supported and still ran the newest software, and still performed its job dutifully. When iPhone 4 arrived, I decided it was a worthy upgrade for me. It performs its job as a mobile computer leaps and bounds ahead of my previous device. The networking is fast, the CPU is fast. I never find myself waiting for the phone to do anything. The screen is brilliant. Seven months later and I've not become used to it. It is an astonishing treat for the eyes. I have never beheld a device with such splendour. It feels so right sitting in my hand, like a machined gift from the future and all the same familiar. It's halfway between the Monolith and the handle of my frying pan as it rests in my hand while cooking a breakfast for two.
Life in 2011 is a constant barrage of objects, of reasons to drop old ones in favour of the new. I love the things I love not because they are irreplaceable (I would not be carrying lamps out of my burning home) but because they currently do exactly their respective jobs and do not need to be replaced.