The List

I’m starting to make a list of the things I want to buy with my first paycheck, those things I’ve put off buying since I’ve moved and only sort of need but would make my life a whole lot easier here. They’re all small because I am, again, trying to live simply. It’s things like new ink cartridges for my printer so that I can print out a few photos for my room. It’s amazing how expensive ink is, but in a digital world, how often do I really need my printer? In the entire time I’ve lived in this house, I have printed one document because it was needed and one document just because I wanted to write in the margins on scripture. That’s it. That’s the grand total. And technically, it’s not that all the inkwells are empty. Just the black one. But the printer will not print, even though C, Y, and M (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta) are all full.Operating systems, man…..

I also need some new light bulbs, so I want to splurge and replace all six with CFLs so that I never have to change them again. Like I said, tiny things that will make life easier, but nothing extravagant. I’m still debating on whether I need a car or not, and that debate will continue for quite a while, for two reasons. The first is that I’m not that great a driver (that fucker came out of NOWHERE). The second is that I don’t want to pay for or maintain a car. I don’t want to have to finance a car and I don’t want to have to empty out my savings if something goes wrong with a used one. If Volfe were here, I’d have no problem with plunking down a couple of thousand (literally, not figuratively) for a car, because I’d have someone to spend my Saturdays with fixing it up and/or doing maintenance). The last time Volfe and I worked on a car, it was me assisting him as he installed power steering in Dana’s car on our driveway in Houston. And while I said that I assisted, mostly what I did was make him laugh and hold things.

In Portland, we both had little Nissan pickups (his is named Moriko and mine was named Shirley) that we loved beyond all measure. The funniest thing that happened with Shirley is that Volfe freehanded some graphics on one side of my truck and ran out of spray paint, so the truck had splash graphics on one side the entire time I owned it.

The alternative side is that I am a total gearhead and I LOVE CARS. Love them. It doesn’t matter what kind, although I am partial to old Mercedes Benz, because when I lived here before, I had a 1988 190 E that I literally drove into the ground. I didn’t wreck it, it’s just the the repairs became  worth twice the value of the car. The hardest part was being sentimental enough to want to pay it, but not foolish.

It would also be nice to have a transportation mode in the winter without having to wait for the bus. But I’m not stupid. The cost of riding the bus and the Metro is infinitely cheaper and wiser for me, because I do the same thing on the Metro that I do while I’m driving- listen to podcasts the whole way. They’re free and brain-engaging, way more so than music. I put an MP3 player on my Christmas wish list because my phone is running out of space with all my apps to hold podcasts and music, plus I can’t stream music and podcasts on the Metro. I want something small on which I can install Rockbox and an expansion card when I need it. In other words, nothing that’s tied to the iTunes store in any way. Plus, MP3 players are so cheap now. It’s what happens when you want a gift from the ’90s… although the exception is old iPods. Those are expensive because they come with up to 160 GB of storage, but the main reason I don’t want an old iPod is that most other MP3 players come with a radio and an expansion slot. Beat that with a stick. NPR, holla! DC pleasure- listening to NPR while walking by NPR. In the beginning, when I first got an MP3 player, the radio was why I chose the Zune over the iPod. I have never regretted that decision, because even though the Zune was less popular, I listened to NPR more than I listened to anything else, and it came with 32 GB of space, while for more money, iPods only held eight. iPods held nothing for me.

iPods and the iTunes store were created in a moment of undeniable humanness when Steve Jobs didn’t include an optical drive on the iMac. It was a garbage dump of a situation, paraphrasing Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, because people didn’t have a way to rip their own CDs onto their computers, which to me, created a different problem- namely, having to buy the album again in a different format (guess I’ll have to buy The White album again…), but consumers didn’t seem to mind, so that’s none of my business.

Sometimes, people are dumb. Even me. I’ve seen me do it.





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