Boxes Old and NewPosted: September 25, 2014
For some strange reason (thanks Mom!) I still possess my grade school Crayola box. Back in the day, Crayolas were cool. What size box did you have? Did it have a sharpener? Another point of childhood pride was the school pencil box. Nestled in a flip-top homeroom desk, your pencil box was carefully labeled with your name and included the right pencils, a small ruler, safety scissors, an eraser and perhaps a protractor (the metal version with needle-sharp ends).
Fast forward a bunch of years. As our daughters transitioned to far away places, we found pencil boxes left behind in their rooms (but no Crayola boxes). With all of the accoutrements required to outfit a college dorm or apartment these days, pencil boxes did not make the cut.
Instead, we set up Dropbox accounts with individual and shared folders. We loaded up key documents, synchronized photos across iOS devices, made images of official documents, and stored credit and identification card details. All of these resources can be accessed by any of us anywhere. Dropbox makes it easy and affordable: 1 Terabyte of storage is available for $100 per year under their pro plan. This is roughly twice my aggregated storage, which includes over 15,000 photographs and a decade worth of digital music and other files.
The irony of calling today’s robust, cloud-base resource a “box” is apparent. What a far cry from the humble little pencil box, but in today’s world, fills the same function. I’m not quite sure why this has me feeling a bit nostalgic. I don’t think it’s about the Crayola box per se, but more about the rapid evolution of technology, its ever-increasing role in our lives and how it shapes our interaction and communication. While my head understands that boxes hosted in the cloud hold unlimited capacity and potential, my heart misses the simple pleasure of opening a fresh box of crayons or neatly organizing my pencil box for the new school year.