Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Adult Toys

No, not those kind of toys. Sorry, but I don't know nuthin' about those mysterious and arcane entities. What can I say? I live a sheltered life.

Rather, I speak of things like garage door openers. We have a garage in this place. I've had garages before, long ago, but they hardly counted. They were somewhat dilapidated wooden structures detached from the house. This one is part of the house, and now that we are living in a colder place, I'm very happy to have it: January temperatures average about 5°C/10°F colder in Ottawa compared to Sarnia although there is much less of a difference in summer.

You'd think that it would be enough just to have a garage, that I would be happy with that. Well I was and am, but somewhere along the line, we decided to treat ourselves to one of those fancy-dancy garage door openers. Our sainted son-in-law installed it for us while we were away at Thanksgiving. Let me tell you; it's a treat. For whatever reason, pressing that button gives me a little burst of pleasure.

We all like our little treats. We enjoy and appreciate life without them, but they put a little sugar in our cake, a little spice in our sauce.

But when is enough, enough?

I have been thinking about iPods for a while now. Just over a week ago, my nephew gave me a tour of his. Yup, I really liked it, and I began to think even more about getting one. So it was that when we were in town last Sunday, I dropped into Future Shop to have a look. The big one, the 20 gig one, was on sale — the same price as the newer 4 gig model. The store was busy, the opportunity was there, I didn't know when I'd be back or how long it would be on sale. So, I pulled the trigger. I bought the thing.

Two days later, my iPod sits in the box — unopened. I don't need an iPod. I'm always home, always near my computer or other devices that will play music. I don't need an iPod. Millions are living in want. I don't need an iPod. Hundreds of thousands of poor sods are living on the edge of desperation after natural disasters have wreaked havoc and misery. I don't need an iPod. Oh yes, I gave some conscience money to World Vision for disaster relief in Pakistan. But I still don't need an iPod.

It doesn't help my guilty conscience to know that my daughter, Butterfly, looked at pods earlier this year and couldn't afford one. And it doesn't help to know that my other music-freak daughter, Ladybug, would also love one. Why should I have one and they not?

So here I sit in a dither: an old man with the heart of a kid who kinda likes his little toys, an old man who forgets his age, an old man who knows that this is a total and unnecessary frill, an old man who has some conscience about the disparity between his wants and the need of others.

An old man who would really like an iPod.

I wonder what he will do, keep it or return it? He really doesn't know. Y'know?



Anonymous said...

If they are still on sale, you could purchase another, and some of your Christmas shopping would be done.

-epm said...

As an American I take my civic duties very seriously. Which means, of course, I'm a materialistic, merchandise consuming, resource waisting shark. There are three iPods in my house... along with four TV sets, four DVD players, three high-end stereo receivers, one vintage amplifier, countless speakers, nearly 400 CDs and over 700 DVDs.

Last year I gave 48 cents to the Salvation Army, but I claimed $500 on my income tax return.

So you see now? Your a damn saint. Keep the iPod and tell the kids to suck it up. :)

Gina said...

Hmmmm, I'm kind of with the first commenter. Perhaps you could take it back, and buy two smaller iPods. I mean, the bigger ones are a bit ridiculous. Who has the time to sit and listen to all that?

I like my $99 Shuffle just fine, thank you. And I didn't even buy it for myself, it was a Christmas gift.

Anvilcloud said...

It's not really the 20 gigs that I need for music. But if it's useful for emptying full camera cards if one is on a trip, as I'm told that it is, well that's where the capacity could come in handy. That's the other consideration: 3 1-gig camera cards would cost about the same as one 20-gig iPod.

Lisa said...

Too funny... I was out looking at those today, too. A 512 Shuffle is around $96 here, where I saw iPods of various sizes for around $200-$300.

I really don't NEED an iPod, but they are cool.

I tried to look for something more discreet, like a DVD-RW, but... I couldn't think of too much I'd like to do with that, really.

Maybe I'll put the Shuffle on my xmas list, but it doesn't have the cool "round thing" on it.

Good luck with your decision. :)

Dee said...

I am getting an ipod for my daughter for christmas. Not sure what kind yet but it will be an ipod, that is for sure.

Debra said...

This is wild that you would post that.... My husband just *had* to have an ipod. Some guys at work had them so he had to have one. So he got one and it sat in a box for two months.

He gave it to our daughter.

Men..... :)

Thanks for the smile... Debra

Simply Coll said...

hmmm.. why not buy another.. especially if they are on sale.. and then give them to your daughters for Christmas.

We installed a garage door opener about a year ago. It still excites me :-)

Bonita said...

My kids were the bane of the neighborhood - they figured out how to use our remote to open garage doors of the neighbors as we drove by...you can imagine the horror!

Well, none of us have really grown up. Toys are for the perennial child within all of us - enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Keep the iPod Daddy-o. You're a very giving person. So why not keep a nice toy for yourself?


Chelsea said...

The answer is inside you. Someone told me one time when I was having the same type of debate you are, that I already knew what I'd decided in my heart.

For me it was true.

defiant goddess said...

That was a very interesting commentary. Almost like a scene from a movie. I imagined an old man sitting on the edge of his bed, staring at the little device in his hand and torn between wants and needs. It made me a little sad.

Mel said...

I loved this post. I will be checking to see what you decide.

kathy said...

what is a ipod?

Wash Lady said...

I hope you keep it. You do enough for others. You have attended to 'needs' all your life. Now is the time to attend to a want that is not going to set you back an arm and a leg.
Live for today....and don't lose out because you are waiting for someting more important or practical.
Keep the iPod and tell us all about it.

Christi said...

You know, my friend got an Ipod, and I loved it. I can't afford an Ipod, though, but I knew I wanted an MP3 player or something. I have zero need for one, b/c honestly, there are maybe ten minutes of my day that I can actually listen to music w/o being able to hear anything else (kids, ya know!). Nonetheless, I found a relatively cheap little one on Overstock.com, and got it. It only holds about 30 songs (but it has really high ratings), and I haven't even halfway filled it yet (and I have put every song I could think of on it!)! What's really great is that I've been able to listen to it about twice since I got it two months ago! Oh well, it's too late now.

I agree with the others. If your daughters want them, and you don't need them, and you can afford them, hook them up!

Christi said...

Oh, and I want some giant Legos. I can't afford them. So, if you want to adopt me, you can hook me up, too!

Heather said...

A very good question - when is enough, enough? I hear your dilemna. I've been there. Lately, I've been leaning toward the side of simplicity, though. I've gotten rid of alot of the clutter in my home - stuff I REALLY thought I needed at the time but then rarely used - and it feels good.

Think about a year from now - will you look down at that iPod and say "what the heck was I thinking?" or will you look at it and think "man, I'm so glad I bought it because it has enriched my life."

I don't have an iPod, but I did buy a cheaper version for my daughter and she uses it ALL the time, since she's a bit of an introverted music nut.

PBS said...

I don't have a garage but I wish that I had a house-door opener. Wouldn't it be great to have the door open when you're carrying armloads of groceries?

Dale said...

Send Meagan the bloody i-pod. She's been bugging me for one for a month now.