I’m not much for hypothetical situations of this nature, nevertheless, I will give it a try.
At first I thought of taking my i-Pod. However, I figured it might be an issue to access the necessary technology to maintain and continue to enjoy. However, music is a key component of my identity and with your indulgence…
Here are the three small things I would take and how I might explain their meaning to me.
1. My Rap music collection. This collection represents a number of things to me. I came into comfort with my identity during the time of Rap Music’s emergence. I remember being in San Francisco and hearing Eric B and Rakim’s “Move the Crowd” coming through a window. I grew politically alongside Public Enemy, KRS-1, Paris, NWA, the Coup, and others. Eminem, Andre Nickatina and Equipto represent in part, my anti-establishment sentiments. I know that this collection includes some horrifically misogynist lyrics. Nevertheless the magical dissonance of the music remains one of the most compelling sensory influences in my life.
2 and 3. My two small dogs, Lola and Cashew. I would never be able to leave them behind. They are my children. I remember a passage from Amy Tan’s novel, Joy Luck Club (which I ultimately abandoned before finishing for other reasons) which described families being forced to abandon their children by the side of the road when they no longer had the strength to carry them. One of the most brutally powerful images I have ever read.
Having to give up two would be unacceptable. I could (grudgingly) give up my music collection. I would obviously be unable to give up one of my dogs. They are so very different in their natures and each has a special place in my heart. It simply would not happen.
I can’t say that this provides me with any remarkable cultural insights. Clearly my choice to keep music says something about the sub-cultural imperatives that I identify with. I suppose it speaks somewhat to diversity as it identifies me as a diverse individual within my diverse status in society. I suppose that my choice to keep my two dogs is a reminder that I share – in a sort of universal humanity – the need for family.