I’m the opposite.
I never delete. Deleting pains me, it feels almost like a crime against myself, an act of unfathomable self-destruction.
On a couple of instances, I’ve been asked to delete. By a sociopath who rejected me (her sociopathy wasn’t a function of her rejection of me, or the other way around, but she was a sociopath, and she did reject me). By a long-standing girlfriend.
In the case of the sociopath, I said, “No.” I said “No” partially because it would have been a lot of work, would have taken some considerable investment of time, to get at every trace of all she’d sent me. And truth be told, the prospect of doing work for her benefit wasn’t particularly appealing. Instead, I promised simply never to look at what had been sent again, and to be sure it was kept extra-safe from prying eyes. (Promises I’ve kept.)
In the case of the long-standing girlfriend, I said “Yes.” But I didn’t really think it through. Wholesale deletion of everything “incriminating” – it was nude pictures and videos she particularly wanted gone – would both a) require considerable work, and b) necessarily require deletion of much of the history of our relationship – not just the visual back-and-forth, but the verbal back-and-forth, the meaning, the feelings. I didn’t begrudge her the work – we ended amicably and I continue to like her, to care about her. But I did feel somehow that to delete all that amounted to an act of self-destruction, an act of violence against myself, my history, my memory. And, ultimately, one I was unwilling to take.
I tried to delete it all, but I did so in a half-hearted (half-assed) way. I don’t have ready access to any of what she sent me. I don’t look at it. I have acted to ensure that it’s virtually impossible to hack. But the truth is, if I wanted to go back and unearth much of it, I suspect I could.
This wasn’t intended as an act of betrayal, or deception, or bad faith. I really did act to render it all harmless, beyond reach. But I didn’t destroy it.
It’s like a vestige of the magical thinking with which I was raised that “you don’t destroy a book, or letters….” There’s something sacred about not just the written word in general, but written (or photographic, or audio, or video) evidence of human relationships.
I’ve written about how I hate SnapChat, and this is related: if you send me a picture of your eyes, your mouth, your tits, your ass, it’s a safe bet I won’t look at it more than once or twice (or maybe three times).
But I sure as hell won’t delete it.
[More, later, on the obligations I incur by receiving nudie pictures and videos and audio.]