It’s the little things that trigger epiphanies. Those tiny moments of recognition that make me say “Oh! I see!”
A few days ago, I took my Panasonic out of my shoulder bag where it lives. I’m very careful with my cameras. When I’m shooting, I’m so focused that unless I adhere to a strict routine, I lose stuff. As I’ve gotten older, I lose stuff anyway and I don’t want to lose any cameras, so I follow my checklist to make sure that no camera or accessory gets left behind. I pull the camera out of my bag, stuff its sleeve in my pocket, take my pictures, and put it all back. When I get home, I pop the SD card out, plug it into the computer, download the pictures, put away that card and put a new one in the camera.
Back into my bag it goes. I know if I keep to the program, I will always have a camera where I need it. For some reason, the last time I used it, I didn’t put it away and left it somewhere. I’m sure I had a reason, though I can’t recall what it was. I forgot it until last night when I picked my bag and noticed how light it felt. What was missing? Ah, the camera.
“Hmm,” I said. “I didn’t realize that little camera weighed that much.”
It was late. I was on my way to bed but stopped in my office grab an extra battery which was when I noticed the camera lying on the desk. I must have put it there when I put the battery in its charger. I picked up the camera and thought “Gee, I should swap the battery and charge this one. I’ve been using it a lot.”
I have quite a few spare batteries. There is nothing that will ruin a shoot more completely than having a battery die in the middle of a shoot and realizing that’s it. No more juice.
I popped the battery out and went to put it in the charger. I looked at my power strip. Six chargers. Impressive for a strip that only has 6 plugs.
This being a Panasonic battery, I tried putting it in the first Panasonic charger on the strip. It didn’t fit. I tried the next one, but it didn’t fit there either, which shouldn’t have surprised me because it was Olympus charger and this was a Panasonic battery, but who can read black lettering on a black charger in dim light anyhow?
There was one charger in the strip I hadn’t tried. Unsurprisingly, the battery popped right into place. I looked around and realized I have two extra Olympus chargers nearby and an off-brand charger whose purpose I do not recall. The chargers in this group each attach to one arm of an octopus splitter. With a wrinkle of concern, I realized I had no room for another charger and sure as the sun will rise, I am sure to need one. I wondered where I could possibly put it.
Epiphany. Bong. Whack.
I have a lot of cameras, computers, tablets, readers, telephones, printers, transmitters, routers, modems, Roku, DVD players, etc. I don’t even know how many there are. I don’t even know where I’ve put them all. Or if they work. They have accumulated. There are the old ones I used until I got newer ones. Then there are the backups I never use, but have in case a piece of equipment fails. Spare telephones, extra cameras. Even a couple of miscellaneous computers.
Everything uses batteries including items that plug into a socket somewhere and most things seem to need a WiFi feed. No room is exempt, from kitchen to bedroom. We have electronic toothbrushes in our bathrooms. After even the briefest power outage, my entire house starts blinking.
The night is lit by the soft glow of red, blue, and green LEDs. It’s never fully dark or entirely silent. Everything flickers, whirrs, buzzes, clicks, beeps, and dings. The telephones variously whoop, bong, or play obnoxious music. Even my wallpaper (the stuff on the computer, not the walls in the kitchen) makes splashing sounds as my virtual dolphins leap in an electronic sea.
My universe collapses in the face of a power outage. Nothing works if the power’s down. I am slavishly devoted to technology and the thought of having no electricity for even a brief period makes me shiver with dread.
Everyone these days seems to have a vast quantity of electronic gadgetry, no matter what they say because nothing is simple anymore. The microwave, the refrigerator, the range, and the oven are computerized. Those are merely the basics.
I had to reboot my bed the other day.
I may not, in theory, need so much stuff, but I can’t imagine giving anything up. I love it all. I even love the things I don’t use, cell phones that served me well and obsolete computers or cameras which have been replaced by newer models. They are my Hall of Fame collection.
Accumulation will never stop. Garry’s new computer is on the way and who knows how many peripheral items it will spawn.
I swear this has all crept up on me, slipped into my life a gadget at a time — a computer, a modem, a router, a laptop, another computer another and another. New cameras replaced old ones and they were themselves replaced by even newer gear. New gadgets were invented and became indispensable. As technology continues to evolve, each piece of equipment will be replaced eventually by newer versions. Like virtual seasons in an endless cycle of beeping, flashing and whirring change.
Excuse me. My oven is beeping. Dinner must be ready.