“What about this guy? He’s the solicitor who helped me with the paperwork when I sold my business.”
“When did you last speak to him?”
“About 7½ years ago.”
“But he might come in useful one day…”
I recently transferred to a different mobile phone network – one with better coverage in this corner of Scotland. It included a brand new fancy phone and a tariff with more inclusive minutes than I could possibly use without damaging my health. However, transferring all my contacts to the new phone has been beset with difficulties.
After many hours wasted and headaches induced, I eventually resorted to shifting them across one at a time via Bluetooth. And although this means opening every contact and running through about 6 different menus selecting options each time, it is still marginally quicker than retyping them all in by hand.
Of course when you are transferring each contact individually, it forces you to decide whether you need, or even want, to keep hold of certain numbers.
Most are obvious – regular friends, business contacts and family are all transferred without hesitation. And then I find, sadly, at least 2 of the people listed are no longer alive, while others have moved house and the number I have for them is redundant.
There are a handful who I have absolutely no idea who they are. A single name with no clue as to who Sharon or Nat might be. I'm reluctant to phone and ask in case it turns out to be a neighbour, relative or an old acquaintance I've spent so long avoiding I've finally forgotten who they are.
I've also transferred 2 different car recovery companies because I cannot remember which one I am currently with and can't be bothered to go and hunt out the paperwork.
But then there are the people I’ve not spoken to for some time. Older business contacts and friends that drifted away – people I’m not even connected to on Facebook. These are the ones where it’s not so clear-cut. Do I really want to let go of them for good or might they come in handy one day? It’s rather like going through the shed and finding a box of things you’ve never used and probably never will, but you can almost guarantee it will be exactly what you need to solve a problem within 2 weeks of discarding it.
Periodically I catch bits of TV programmes about people whose lives are wrecked by compulsive hoarding – never able to throw anything out without it inducing a massive panic attack. In this digital age hoarding information has become even easier as we no longer see physical space being taken up with detritus of past actions.
Of course each time we have to wade through the mass of useless digital files looking for the bit we want, we swear we will do a proper clean out and reorganisation of it at some point.
Perhaps I do need to be a bit more ruthless.
Let’s just hope I don’t need a solicitor in the next few weeks…