Thursday, August 2, 2012
PAYING THE “STUPID TAX”
…farewell, sweet Nikky.
Our time together was so fleeting…
The conversation last Sunday went like this:
“Oh, you’ll love the Nikon point and shoot. We have one and it takes great pictures.”
“Terrific. How much did you pay for it?”
“You found it in a dumpster?”
“Yeah. All we needed to do was go on line and find the charging system and we were set to go.”
“How do you know it wasn’t stolen?”
“We figure someone just was cleaning out their apartment or something and accidentally threw it out.”
“That’s what you figure?”
“Yeah. We find all kinds of good stuff in dumpsters. Clean it up and take it to the Flea Market every Saturday. You’d be amazed.”
The following Wednesday, four days and two hundred plus miles away from the previous Sunday:
Knowing that carrying my beloved Panasonic camera in a handy pouch on my belt proved to be its demise when I dumped the BMW last month, I replaced it with a damned-nice Nikon. The Nikky had great zoom, more mega-pixies, video capabilities and a ton of features I would have no interest in ever using. But the price was unbeatable. And she would live in my tank bag.
My buddy from Washington had cruised into town on his brand new ’09 Moto Guzzi Stelvio [insert photo here] and we were eager for a side by side comparo as well as a couple of hundred miles of high country blacktop. His Guzzi is a wonderful machine. It has the quirky character I appreciate in my Breva, with the take-on-the-world attitude of my BMW GSA. When we swapped, I was in no hurry to swap back. The only two downfalls I could discern were that a) the mirrors buzz enough to make what’s happening behind look as if it is smeared in Vaseline, and b) Piaggio doesn’t promote these wonderful machines nearly enough. There is a great market for big, competent duel-sport motorcycles that don’t come with a blue and white roundel. At least so thinketh Yamaha, Triumph and soon Honda.
I’d taken a number of shots of the red Beemer and the black Stelvio against backdrops as varied as the brick buildings of old town Auburn, CA, the black crested buttes of the highest Sierra and the deep blue waters of her alpine lakes. They were outstanding photographs: nicely composed and perfectly exposed. I just know it.
At a lunch stop buddy opted to leave his helmet and jacket unsecured because our bikes would be within view of the outdoor eating patio. Seemed safe to me. Later, at an I-80 rest stop, while off-loading some of the Coca Cola I’d only rented, I left my bike and its gear unsecured as well.
Arriving home I was eager to download my Pulitzer-quality moto-photos. I opened the tank bag to find Nikky had gone missing. I searched jacket pockets, the Jesse panniers and even places I knew I hadn’t been with the camera. Within moments my heart felt two bricks heavier and my wallet about two hundred and fifty bucks lighter. I would have a stupid tax to pay if I were to be prepared for next week’s ride into Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
Somebody has my Nikon. They will find it useless once the battery dies unless they go on line and replace the external charging system. Short of that, I expect Nikky will end up in a dumpster and, perhaps eventually, at a Flea Market. The perp or the dumpster diver will earn about fifteen bucks.
I’ve paid my “stupid tax,” replacing the two-week old Nikon with another point ‘n’ shoot. I’ll need to remember that my trust in humankind does not preclude me from being smarter about the desperate or just dastardly nature of some of my species.
Church of the Open Road Press