Using Less-Precious Things

Less Precious Things

In recent months I’ve noticed a trend away from using precious things. By “precious” I mean “Affectedly dainty or overrefined.”

I first noticed this after I bought an inexpensive ThinkPad for playing with Linux. I now bring the ThinkPad to meetings and when traveling instead of the expensive MacBook Pro. I can toss the ThinkPad around without worrying about damaging it. I don’t worry as much about it being stolen. Also, if something does break I can probably fix it myself, cheaply.

The same thing has happened with cameras. I own a couple of wonderful Leica bodies and a fine Fuji digital camera, but I’ve been using the Nikon F3 or Olympus Stylus Epic almost exclusively. The F3 is a tank. It also cost many times less than the Leica or Fuji. I don’t worry much about damaging the F3, partly because it’s so inexpensive, but also because it’s harder to damage in the first place. And the little Olympus? Ten bucks. I just use them without worrying.

When I first saw the Freewrite Kickstarter I lost my head and backed it. I thought I’d use it for journaling or whatever, and I did for a few weeks. The Freewrite is cool, but it’s way too precious. Using it is a bit fussy and battery life is ok but unpredictable. Instead, I’ve been using the old, trustworthy AlphaSmart Neo2. The batteries last for years, and if I break it (although I’m not sure that’s even possible), I can replace it for around $25. I just press one button and start typing.

I have some nice fountain pens. I love them. They’re beautiful and a pleasure to write with. I’ve been using pencils instead. A pencil, at worst, needs sharpening. If a pencil can be picked up, it can be written with. Grab one and write. If I lose one, so what?

My Apple Watch sits unused on the charger most days. Instead, I wear a simple automatic analog watch. In this case, the simple watch cost much more than the Apple Watch, but it’s less precious. It never needs charging or updates. I don’t worry about scratching or damaging it. I’ve beat the crap out of it for nearly ten years and it still looks new. It’s not just water resistent, it’s water proof to 300 meters. Again, I just put it on and go.

As for that Nokia phone in the photo? I’m not that crazy…yet.