December 28, 2003

to buy or not to buy

Thanks to the internet in all its various guises Ė- websites, email, chat functions, even the now-quaint newsgroups Ė we know about new events, new developments practically before they even happen. But is this plethora of information an unmitigated blessing? Is it possible to know too much?

My birthday is tomorrow. Iíve been looking forward to my present for months. An iPod. I have big plans for that slim white box. I will put our entire CD collection on it. I will carry it to the car every day, where I will plug it into our stereo system and have extra long playlists for the long drives to and from Damianís school. This means never fumbling for another CD during red lights, never listening to the same CD on endless repeat because my brain and body donít process as well while also handling various driving maneuvers. This means being surrounded with de-stressing sound for the long, sometimes tense trips. This is good.

I will also save my pennies and within a month have enough personal discretionary money saved to buy myself a mini speaker system. This means I can hear music while washing dishes. While organizing my office. While having a bath. While peeing, if I want. In the back yard in the summertime. This also means Iíll have a playlist specifically designed for my fledgling Reiki practice, and I can set the iPod and speakers on a tiny table in the guest room/treatment room. Portable stereo? As portable as it gets.

I will also be able to carry my computer files in my pocket. And when I eventually acquire my major lust object, that digital Rebel camera, Iíll be able to download pictures to my iPod. Instant storage, no computer needed. Have hard drive, will travel.

Iím going to enjoy that puppy. I was planning to enjoy it as of, oh, tomorrow.

But hereís the thing. I was on iChat with my friend Otto the other night. He told me all the Mac rumor sites were buzzing with the possible, potential, maybe-itís-true news that Steve Jobs will be announcing a new iPod or iPods January 5th at MacWorld Expo. For sure (well, as sure as these non-concrete speculations can be), heíll be announcing tiny iPods, 2 and 4 gig models, selling somewhere around $100 or so. Perfect for college students or anyone else on a budget. And who knows, maybe the regular line-up, currently 10 gig/20 gig/40 gig, will get bigger, maybe becoming 15/30/60.

Maybe.

If I didnít know any of this, Iíd go out tomorrow and buy myself (well, Dan will buy me) a 20 gig iPod and be very happy. At least for now. And Iíd probably be philosophical about the lineup change because you never can pre-guess electronics, they update every other week.

But now that I know, I have to wonder if this is the best way to go. Should I wait seven days, see if the midrange iPod gets a boost, and if so, either spend less on almost the same capacity or get a bigger one for the same money? Or should I wait that week and then get a tiny iPod which wonít do everything Iíd planned but will be so very much cheaper and then we can put the rest aside in our Tamar-Wants-A-Rebel fund?

But where does that leave me tomorrow? Presentless is what. On my birthday. Sort of like nobody loves me, only this time I donít love myself or rather I want to protect myself from future disappointment and so I disappoint myself on my so-called special day and leave myself empty handed. And whoís to say announcement leads to immediate disbursement? I remember a two month wait for my G3 PowerBook from the time they were announced to when the box arrived on my doorstep. Does a birthday gift still count if you get it two months late? Should I then think of it as a Valentineís Day present? Itís one expensive box of chocolates. Not to mention, the metal might chip your teeth.

I think what Iíll do instead is call around in the morning, see if anyone in town even has the 20 gig iPod (they were all out of stock here and elsewhere in the days before Christmas). If yes, whatís the return policy? One week? Okay, great. Iíll be there in an hour, can you hold one for me?

Sometimes we do things that may defy logic. We do them for emotional reasons, which are just as legitimate. I wonít say itís bad to know what may lie ahead. Itís just bad to twist my life to fit that possible bend in the road. Better to peek ahead but live in the present. And get my present on time.

Posted by Tamar at December 28, 2003 10:36 PM