I consider myself a frugal sort, not given to buying binges. "Retail therapy" would appear absent from my dictionary.
But in the last few months, I've found
myself unabashedly buying several things.
Surprisingly, all three items in this
materialistic surge start with "W." I wrote earlier about my purchase
of a retro, 1930s-ish wristwatch that
gives only hour and minutes of
The second "W" item I bought was a wallet.
I've no idea when I bought the nylon "Sundog" Velcro wallet for about
$10. An incredibly durable and simple design: Five card slots and a
two-sleeve bill pocket, zippered for "hidden" funds and the like.
Alas, over the years, the plastic zipper
gave up: I tossed the sliding pull. At some point post-zipper, I got on
the Internet and contacted the fellow who owns "Sundog". He seemed
thrilled to hear from a wallet customer. I asked where I could get
another. He replied they were no longer available, but did I want to be
notified when and if he were to bring them back? I let it go.
When the wallet's sewn edges began
unravelling, I thought about repair, But in a moment of lucidity, I
decided: Maybe it's time.
The new wallet's a gem. All of $38 for a
sharkskin wallet with free shipping from Thailand. Simply holding it
makes me feel richer, more substantial than could ever be said for the
"Sundog." Eight sleeves for cards, a flap license holder with clear
windows, two silk-lined bill pockets. First class all the way.
Some might object to a wallet once the
skin of a wild animal, but I'm assured the shark met its demise
sustainably. Besides, in our post-petroleum world, no nylon, no
plastic, no Velcro matters.
My third "W" buy, though, edges closer to
"retail therapy." A Sony Walkman (tm).
I was walking by the corporate
headquarters of Ziba Design here in Portland the other day. A window
slogan there speaks to a new Ziba-designed boombox for TDK: "An analog
icon in a digital age." Ziba has a point.
Of late, I've been listening to a handful
of cassette tapes I've kept over the years. Okay, rewind and
fast-forward are cumbersome, but I also get satisfaction from
stick-shift transmissions in cars.
For my money, the Walkman approaches the The Perfect Thing author Steven
Levy ascribes to the iPod in his
eponymous book. The Walkman revolutionized how we took our stereo
mobile and made it personal (DIY mix tapes!).
In a few days, I get a blister-pack NOS
(new old stock) Walkman. Nostalgia, yes, but for a deserved analog icon.
Read Charlie Dickinson's
story collection, The Cat
at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)
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