55,758 is a pretty big number. If you were going to drive 55,758 miles, you’d have to bring along plenty of delicious snacks and refreshing beverages; if 55,758 was a number of days, you’d need over 150 years to live them all; and, if you had 55,758 dollars, you’d have 55,758 dollars.
Aside from the dollars, I can’t think of anything I’d want 55,758 of. During the time I was neck-deep in research for my scientific and totally legitimate study, The Physiological Effects of Natural and Engineered Mind-Altering Substances On The Life Of A Human Lesbian, I would have been able to think of a few things. But if I had that much or that many of those things, there’s an excellent chance I’d currently be dead. And you would be totally freaking out right now, because that would mean you’re reading a ghost blog.
But rest assured, I am very much alive and this blog definitely doesn’t have ghosts. Which is probably exactly what a ghost would say to try and get live people to stick around and be haunted. But in my case, it’s the truth. On the other hand, it’s hard to know what to believe, because ghosts are quite skilled in the art of deception and are often assholes of the highest caliber.
It’s true! If you had a visitor who’d gone into your kitchen, opened all the drawers and cupboards, smashed a few plates and stuck googly-eyes on all your fruit; then you later found that person in your living room chucking tchotchkes about, knocking over pictures and aggressively rearranging furniture, what would your second thought be? I’m assuming that, like me, your first thought would be “What the fuck??” But that would be closely followed by something along the line of “What are you doing, you asshole!?!”
So, if humans can be assholes and ghosts are dead humans, it stands to reason that ghosts can be assholes. And maybe even bigger assholes than the living, because now that they’re dead, they aren’t concerned about getting caught or someone shouting, “What the fuck?? What are you doing, you asshole!?!”
On the contrary, they want to be found out, they want a reaction. It’s like renowned ghost-wrangler and paranormal philosopher, Tangina Barrons, once said: “If a house has ghosts but no people to scare, is it still haunted?” And unless the answer is, people or not, a house is definitely haunted if it has 55,758 ghosts, it’s not important because we’re here to talk about big numbers, not haunted houses. But if you’re a regular reader, I hope that by now you’ve grown accustomed to my periodic episodes of ATT (Adult Tangential Tendency) and won’t hold my sometimes lengthy asides against me.
Despite my inability to think of anything besides dollars that I would want 55,758 of, I recently discovered that I already have a collection that size. Sadly, it’s not a collection of problems, which eliminates the opportunity to say, “I’ve got 55,758 problems but a bitch ain’t one.” Not to worry though, I’m sure I’ll find a way to work that joke in somehow.
Like problems, my 55,758 things don’t take up any space. Except on my laptop. That being said, this seems like a good time to pretend this is where I’d intended all along to reveal that my 55,758 things are pictures. It’s probably also a point where I should stop repeating 55,758. Because saying 55,758 over and over might have seemed clever at first, but it’s been played-out; and rather than cute, seeing 55,758 so many times has just become annoying.
I was texting with Gillette when I launched Picasa, the photo organizing program I’d just installed. When the file count paused, I thought it had finished and sent Gillette a message saying I had 5,400 pics to review. Her response was “Aaaaaah! omfg!” But I realized Picasa had just been catching its breath when I saw the counter resume counting. I updated Gillette on the progress of my project when the counter stopped again, this time at 9,881. Her reaction was an appropriate “holy fuck!” A little more than four hours later, I knew I’d crested the hill of believability and was rapidly descending into the valley of the impossible when Gillette sent a message saying “Haha! yeah right” upon receiving a text from me that read “1,043 folders & 40,350 pics/vids.”
I didn’t even update her when the count reached 55,758. I could scarcely believed what I was seeing myself, how could I expect anyone else to take it all in?
The plethora of pictures isn’t a complete surprise. My Ex was a prolific photographer, and years ago, when I bought her a new laptop, I backed up all of her pictures onto my external drive. And even after transferring copies to her new machine, the originals remained on my drive. It’s always been my intention to go through them to find those that I’d like to keep, but her habit of organizing pictures by the date they were taken means opening every folder to find out what it contains. And that has always seemed an overwhelming task … there are A LOT of folders.
I’ve found that not all 55K+ are what most of us would consider a picture-picture … things like title sequences and transitions from the videos I like to make and album art from MP3 files. There are also duplicate photos; many, many, many duplicate photos. But they all still needs to be reviewed in order to separate the keeps from the deletes.
The most difficult aspect of this undertaking are the picture-pictures … vacations we took, birthdays we celebrated, the house we owned, dogs we had and family I haven’t seen in five years. When the Ex used to send me links to albums she’d uploaded to Shutterfly or some such site, I’d look at them, but they were mostly from wherever we’d just gone or whatever we’d just done. So while they were good and the moments she’d captured important, they lacked the nostalgic appeal and impact that photographs develop with age.
And that’s what I’m up against now. It’s hard enough to look at years old pictures of my nephews and wrap my mind around the fact that they’re like regular grown-up people now; but knowing the same is true of my nieces, and only being able to wonder what they look like and who they’ve become, is a sentimental kick to the heart.
I don’t believe that lost souls of the departed walk among us. But memories, some good and others less so, can last a lifetime. And given the choice, I think a lot of people would keep the ones that hurt, because sometimes a painful memory is better than none at all. They may not rattle chains or smear ectoplasm all over the house, but those are the ghosts that I believe in … and the ones that haunt me.