Thursday, June 23, 2005

it isn't the gesture that lasts

Well I went to a camera place on Tuesday, a place run by this one family for the last couple of decades. I'd rather buy from them than from some big box, and I trust their advice about things. Plus my friend J. only goes there. J. is an attractive and charming gay friend of mine who calls me babe and kisses me on the lips, which I like. He's an excellent photographer, and he is quite particular, in a good way. (I don’t need to go on here about how much I love him and his husband, because I see them lots and they know how much, but I will say this: I love them A LOT. And don’t you love that in Canada, “his husband” is becoming a perfectly common thing to say?)

So I went into this shop with this idea of talking about three comparable cameras then going away and thinking about it, and then coming back in a few days after lengthy consideration to buy one. The joke is I have already done this three times before over the last two years and never bought a thing. I think I was getting on a 6-8 month cycle. It is hard to lay out that much cash.

Plus, while I appreciate all the excellent advice and information available on the web about different digital cameras, and despite the fact that I have a noggin that really can handle technology, the truth is I get bored reading all the reviews.

The mind-numbing detail, which I recognize as useful and important on the rational plane, arouses one of two reactions in me on a more instinctive level: 1) the lightly panicked, which makes me want to run away shrieking to block out the memory of words like "aperture" and "white balance"; OR 2) the calm, where I simply space out and start day-dreaming about delightful things that have nothing to do with cameras. It is the one area of my life, I recently confessed to a friend, where I really just want someone to step in and kindly tell me what to do.

Anyway, after some talk with the kind, mild-mannered and knowledgeable fellow helping me, who was in his sixties, tall and gangly, with enormous glasses and quite strong B-O, I surprised myself by saying "I think I'll just take it now", about a camera I have been reading about and seriously considering for some time. I also bought some rechargeable batteries, some lithium batteries, a case, and 1GB memory card, which was the big splurge, but I just liked the idea of being able to take as many higher-res shots as I want to on this Yukon trip and not giving a red hot damn.

Before dinner, I went for a walk around the lake near my house. It was grey and rainy when I set out. The air smelled sweet and a little soapy from all the chamomile, which grows everywhere. On the other side of the lake the scent changed to cut grass and blossoms and the rain stopped. There was also a spicy sweet smell by the marsh over there that made me stop. I stretched out my aching back (still sore from the paddling, can you believe it?) and stood breathing in delicious air. Red-winged blackbirds were swooping about and a small grey rabbit darted into the brush when a cyclist suddenly appeared.

As I came around the side of the lake, the setting sun suddenly blasted through the clouds and there was that wonderful period of a few minutes, I am sure you have seen it many times in different places, where the sun bathes everything in golden light, and greens look extra green, and the dark clouds behind look almost black. Did I have my new camera with me? No. But I had my eyeballs with me. Thank god for eyeballs.


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