Selling my first sentimental items this week was only a test of the further dedication I must adopt in order to see our savings goal for the trip come to fruition. Some might look at the stack of 45s I put on eBay as nothing more than some screamy, crappy music that should have been left in the nineties. But how do you just get rid of the soundtrack to your teenage life?
Note: not an actual important record related to the story.
Last week, I thumbed through the thousands of records I have and picked out the ones that would be the hardest for me to sell. It had to start somewhere, right? Why not get the nittiest and grittiest out of the way first.
I tried to choose a batch of records that I loved and have had for a while (and to be honest, a few that could really net some cash). I’ve put out a handful of records myself, either of my own music or friends’ bands, but those will never get sold at any point (they will eventually make up the “care package” I’ll be sending my parents before we leave). Besides, the things that are most valuable to me are probably worthless to others.
The first night of the auction, I had some terrible, winding and cyclical dreams. I’m pretty sure that in my lucid state I kept coming back to our initial decision to leave. It was like my mind was still reeling and spinning about–even in a state of rest–trying to process the flutter and excitement that comes with these grandiose plans.
After the rough night of semi-sweaty, shifting sleep, I checked the auction. Overnight, It had crept up to $40. I started to wonder if I was doing the right thing.
Later that day, I was looking up hostels in Paris. A lot of friends who had traveled Europe insisted that accommodations at hostels could regularly be attainted for US$5-10 a night. Nevermind that some of these people had not traveled in years, I took their anecdotal advice at face value and assumed that some rooms would be at least close to that price.
On the other hand, I was a little skeptical, considering the weakness of the dollar, paired with the general slump (as we are all painfully aware of) the global economy is in. As I started browsing hostel sites, my naivete and lack of world travel became frightfully apparent.
“Forty dollars a night for a private room?”
Screech, halt, stop the record. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t the fun of traveling (and the point of hosteling) to stay in the dorm-style room with 12 other weirdos and raise hell all night? Look, I’m all for economy stays, and know full well we will need to do that to make our money last, but that’s not the kind of romantic Parisian stay I had in mind. Sensing defeat, I started to convince myself that the imagined 2 weeks I had wanted to devote to Paris may have to dwindle down to less than one.
As I listened to my headphones on the train ride home that evening, a familiar song came on via the shuffled playlist. Unwound’s fiery “Totality” snapped me out of my morose commute. It’s one of those songs that make you want shout out loud until every son of a bitch on the train is banging on seats, jumping up and down, and screaming their lungs out. It also happened to be a single I was selling in my eBay batch.
I walked home a little faster than usual that night as a wave of optimism washed over me. As soon as I got back to my computer, I pulled up the auction. Still $40. Damn. Well, it had only been one day.
I slumped into my chair and looked at the stack of records sitting next to my desk. Quite suddenly, I started thinking about all the terrible, miserable times I actually had around the time I listened to them the most. This indeed was the soundtrack to a part of my life all right, just not one I needed to keep feeling nostalgic for. Did I really care about these pressed pieces of wax? In a sense yes, but the more I pondered it, the more they started to look like a private night’s stay in Paris.
Only a few thousand more to go.