Backward Compatible on my Birthday

Today is my 38th birthday. The weather is so lousy I’m not going to drive the 90 miles or so to my parent’s house for my “surprise” party. Oh well, it comes with the territory; that’s New Jersey in January: icy to wet, gray as a rusty watering can that didn’t make it to the tool shed for the winter (not that I have a tool shed, but one can dream) and packed with traffic in places where you couldn’t dream people would want to crowd.

Even if it’s somewhat out of context, a “Brady Bunch” episode, the one with Peter bursting into various rooms in the Brady home expecting a surprise party, still runs through my mind. Dressed in a classic ’70s suit and tie, Peter will eventually get his party, but it’s still kind of sad that he must learn a lesson of unfulfilled expectations first.

It’s just me and my most excellent wife in our apartment in metro-suburban New Jersey, watching CBS‘s “Sunday Morning, NBC‘s “Meet the Press … reading the Sunday edition of the New York Times. I’ve received a few phone calls from thoughtful relatives and friends about the b-day and managed to down a Manhattan bagel and couple cups of coffee.

For the past few years, though, I’ve wanted for something. As a Christian it has been a source of guilt to want for anything but, even so, I’ve been salivating over the prospect of buying a nice digital camera. I’d always thought I’d get one when finances got a little better. (I splurged last summer on a nice Gibson acoustic guitar, but that’s another story.) Finances have not improved, but I should say our kitchen is stocked aplenty.

I waited and waited and waited. After all, prices on cameras kept dropping and megapixels kept increasing, so why not wait? But wait for when? Then, suddenly last year, the bad news hit: all new Mac-compatible peripherals in stores no longer support OS 9. Since I’m still paying for my circa-2000 computer set-up I was surprised, hurt, annoyed … and felt sort of betrayed. It would have to be a long time….

A few moments ago I walked over to the kitchen table to see fresh flowers prepared by my wife, accompanied by a little card. In it was a gift certificate, “Redeemable for One Digital Camera,” fabricated by my wife. How, I asked, could this be? Well, it turns out my better half has been doing some research. She’s found brand new, factory-sealed digital cameras on eBay that support the old, crusty OS 9 platform that I still use. It turns out they were the cameras I wanted a couple years ago. The market prices on older cameras really have plummeted. We’re saving hundreds going backward compatible.

So my wife’s buying me a digital camera; it’s barely noon and this is already the best b-day I’ve had in years. Perhaps this is a Peter Brady moment afterall.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post some meaningful Metropolitan-area photography soon.

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