Friday, October 24, 2008

thoughts from an afternoon at a café, where laptops abound and the women are serious

Even as I went through a rigorous downsizing three years back, and a significant belt-tightening at the end of this spring, I am forever fighting the urge to grow and upgrade. If only I had the next camera in the lineup of the affordable (making it, therefore, unaffordable)! What’s $100 more when you are investing in years of photo-taking? Say the camera lasts only two years (because then I’ll be fifty-seven and probably doubly clumsy). That’s 14 cents a day extra, no? Most any employed person here, without little kiddies to support and with a good health insurance plan can afford 14 cents a day, right?

Of course, this is the pigheaded way we think. I should get, instead, in the habit of putting away 14 cents a day, just like that, without much thought to it, because, well, I can afford to do it. And then, in two years I should celebrate: I’ll have accumulated $100. How thrilling is that?! It wont buy me an upgrade in my camera (because you can’t really buy an upgrade after you have already purchased the camera), but $100 is good for any number of things. In fact, it is such a fat wad of money, that I may be tempted not to spend it all. Hoarding it, I may become stingy and self-righteous. I may look down on those who don’t know how to save and whose credit card debt exceed boundaries of reasonableness. (Forgetting that, not too long ago, I was one of them…)

That sounds wrong. Perhaps I should purchase the upgrade and also contribute to a political campaign, ensuring that I remain committed to noble ideas at the same time that I am improving my photography.

Why is it that the best solutions are so often the most pricey ones?

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UPDATE: Sanity prevailed. I basically got a replacement camera, with a very modest $45 upgrade. Here's why: Mr. Frugal (Ed) pointed out that I had not used half the features of my now broken Sony SLR. One can improve photos through camera upgrades and through learning more about how best to use the camera one has. Mr. Frugal is right. And, in a magnificent gesture of great generosity, he offered to replace the camera. Perhaps a gift for what was, after all, a date that had some significance? He wouldn't admit it, but one can spin nice tales like this on one's blog.