This morning I finished digitising the CSCW conference proceedings, including the creation of a bookmarked contents list for each one (rather a tedious process), and downloaded the PDFs to the Sidebooks app on my iPad. Although this was a largely mundane exercise, I was stimulated from time to time when I came across author and project names that I had become familiar with while I was working in the CSCW field in the early 1990s. Reflecting on this in the shower this morning, I remembered my conclusion a week or so ago that, for memorabilia, the journey was often better than the destination. Suddenly, in a deluge of shower illumination, I realised that it was the remembering that had been fulfilling; and that the act of remembering is an act of doing; and that any thoughts about memorabilia – even just pondering the fact that they are where you put them and can be accessed when you wish – are ‘doing’ acts. It is when items cease to stimulate any thought or interest that they become worthless. Conversely, while items of memorabilia still inspire some physical or thinking action, they still have some value for the individual.
I continued to think through the meaning of this insight and concluded that it has significant implications for why we keep things; and that it will necessitate the adjustment of parts of the OFC tutorial text (though I must add that I’m sure these ideas are not new – but I have the luxury of not having to trawl the huge literature to see what has been documented before: that is the job of academics who should be appropriately paid to do a very difficult, laborious and hugely important job). This experience has cemented my belief in the innovative power of the shower, and makes me wonder just how important ablutions have been to the development of modern civilisation over the centuries.