For at least ten years, I've had this one Ziplock bag in my office. It was small, sandwich-sized. But more rectangular than square. Its plastic sides foggy and creased. Inside were about a half-dozen or so rolls of film. Some were medium format, some were 35mm. B&W, C-41, B&W that can be processed with C-41. Even a roll of slide film (E6 represent!) was in there. Some of the 35mm rolls had numbers sharpied on their sides. 12. 19. Meaning, of the 36 available spots for exposures, only 12 or 19 were taken. A couple of the rolls even had stickers on them, stickers once valued and valuable. "Processing Paid," they read. The film labs that these stickers belonged to were for places in Victoria. 4,450 km away. I don't even know if those labs still exist. It's been 12 years since I left.
Inside this bag was a little note. It read: "Process me!" I think it'd been in there at least a year. Probably more.
During the process of re-everything-ing my office, I'd finally reached a point where the chaos was manageable. Surfaces were clear. Things I kept were put away. My office felt spartan and fresh. But there were outliers. Things that I didn't know what to do with. Things that had a bit of something that kept me from tossing them outright but were now considered homeless. I let these things sit overnight, hoping a new day would bring clarity.
As neatly as I could, I lined up each of these items on a table and decided to deal with them in the morning.
Said things were:
- a static-free bag full of twist ties,
- a ball of elastic bands,
- a Ziplock bag full of thumbtacks,
- 4 screws,
- 1 Allen key, and
- that sad bag of sorta-shot film.
Of course when the morning came, I looked at those things and realized I was a crazy person. A crazy person hoarding weird, baseless fears that I might need all these random things one day. I might need to tie an errant cable and I'll hate myself for tossing all those twist ties. Or maybe I'll need to pin something to my wall. Or maybe I'll need some random-sized screw and these exact ones will do the trick!
Having "come to my senses" as they say, I tossed the lot. But the bag of film remained. I stared at it. And it stared back at me.
After seeing it lying there all alone, in my brand-new office, I was forced to ask myself: What the H am I waiting for???
So I swallowed my shame, drove straight to the nearest film lab and slunk in the front door. I apologized repeatedly to the nice man who was tasked with itemizing each random roll. After ten years of wasting away in that bag, and just one day at the lab, it was ready.
There were some photos that I expected to see. But there were others I didn't even remember taking. There were old friends. And others whose names I'd forgotten. It was a very kaleidoscopic and somewhat jarring experiencing of the past. But there were a couple of gems in there.
I still haven't finished the whole KonMari tidying process. I took a break once I was able to live my life again but with a rainy long weekend ahead, I might just get into it again. Or not.
In the meantime, here are a couple of images from one of those rolls of film. Shot in 2005 (I think) in some random motel I spent one night in while away on a job.