}

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Finding good things

Today was a day of finding things, though that’s not exactly what I set out to do. Even so, it was a very welcome addition to what would otherwise have been just packing up Nigel’s stuff. They were good finds.

Today’s project was to pack up the bits and pieces in Nigel’s office, most of which Nigel had already sorted into various groupings. My brother-in-law, Terry, stopped by this morning on his way to a meeting to help me do that. It didn’t take long, and it also wasn’t particularly emotional for me, though I didn’t think it would be. I found a bunch of stuff that was cool, useful, or that was very personal and comforting for me.

Among the useful stuff was a corded Apple keyboard, the sort they don’t make any more. My original one broke and I replaced it with a third-party keyboard that looks a LOT like the original, but it’s, um, quirky in its performance.

We had the Apple keyboard still in its packaging for years, and I knew that Nigel had taken it to use with some project or other. But he preferred the heavy clunking keys on his other keyboard, so he put the Apple one aside, which turned out to be lucky for me, because it’s hardly been used.

This matters because I wanted to plug a full-size keyboard into my new MacBook Pro, not the least because when I type using it, I often accidentally touch the trackpad and the insertion point jumps to somewhere seemingly random on the page (and no, I’m not blaming technology for my typos…). The full-sized keyboard doesn’t have that problem, of course, and it also has a numeric keypad, something I need when working with spreadsheets. As an explanation for the modernists, I prefer “old fashioned” corded keyboard because they don’t need to be charged.

As it happens, I’m using that keyboard to type this, and it works great. It’ll make my work so much easier.

I also found three pairs of Nigel’s reading glasses (just inexpensive ones, not prescription). Nigel “lost” them at some point and bought a new pair, realising only when he was ready to pay for them that they weren’t a cheap pair, but around $100 or so. “I was too embarrassed to tell the lady,” he said at the time, so he bought them anyway. I like them because the lenses are glass, not plastic, but the pairs I found today will be useful, too, because I leave pairs all around the house so that I never have to go far when I need a pair. Which is why Nigel sometimes borrowed mine—he could always find a pair of mine.

The best part, though was that I found a bunch of storage devices, including Some “thumb drive” USB sticks. Nigel had so many that I used to joke that he had about a quarter of the global supply of them. After going through his office, I think that MAY have been a conservative estimate. I’d have made that same joke to Nigel, and he would’ve had some sort of snarky retort, just like always.

I was reminded of that because among the other things I found was a microSD card that had been used in his dashcam. The card had video recorded over a few days in late October 2016, when we were not only still at the old house, we weren’t even looking for one to move to. While the camera was just looking out through the windscreen (duh), it also recorded audio within the car. Some of the video was of one of Nigel’s morning commutes, beginning with him talking aloud to himself as he drove from the house, telling a neighbour who was briefly blocking the shared drive to “get out of the way, arsehole“, which was funny to me because I knew how much he disliked the neighbours there. The rest was of his drive, and silent apart from the audio book he was listening to.

Other videos were recorded when he and I were in the car on our way somewhere nearby, and it was those I especially loved. I could hear us just talking about everyday things, such as that our friend Richard Hills was about to be sworn in as an Auckland Councillor (he has just been sworn in to his second term). But there was so much more! At one point, Nigel apparently farted, and we then discussed the qualities of its odour, as we almost always did. I loved hearing all that because there are so few recordings of us just being us, and they actually made me very happy, not sad at all.

All of which means that today’s task not only wasn’t sad for me, it actually ended up making me really happy, which frankly doesn’t happen all that often at the moment. The videos made me feel like I was with Nigel for a few minutes, and that meant the world to me. Fart talk included.

There was boring stuff, too, like piles of papers from his work, which I’ll return to them for destruction or whatever. I needed to go through them to make sure there was nothing belonging to us mixed in them (there wasn’t much). In doing that, I also found his dashcam itself, which he took out of the car when he was getting his next one, the one we sent back recently. I’ve been looking for that dashcam for a year or two. Dealing with that boring stuff was basically no big deal to me after I saw/heard those videos.

Nigel said in his last days that he didn’t want me to “have to go through all my toys”, all the electronic bits and pieces he left behind. So far, I’ve mainly just packed it up and I’ll go through it in my new place—however, for the record, I realised that I can, in fact, identify a LOT of the stuff, something I didn’t think I could do. Also, because we packed up his office today, I found some cool stuff, some useful stuff, and some that was very personal and comforting for me.

Today was a good day because I found good things. I hope this process gives me more days just like this one.

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