The Dr. Manhattan of consumer goods

Photograph of a partial airplane wing and open sky, as photographed out of the plane window.

I’m thinking about buying a camera. And by thinking about it, what I mean is: I am the Dr. Manhattan of consumer goods, simultaneously experiencing:

  • the future where I have bought the camera,
  • the further future where I have stopped using the camera and am thinking about selling it,
  • the even-further future where I am thinking about buying a different camera,

and the present moment, where I am still “thinking about” buying this one.

I want to believe that I’m (agri)cultured and rationale, not a hungry hunter-gatherer shoving berries into my mouth the moment I spot them. I want to believe I make big decisions in a considered, intellectual sort of way. But I know it’s not true. So a play takes place in my mind, about making up my mind, when my mind is already made.

“Let’s just get divorced,” said as one might say, “Well, it’s getting late.”

The play takes place in that time between when you know you’re going to leave the party but before you make it out the door.

I wonder if this experience of time is more rule than exception. It happens in business often enough. Much of my job as a consultant is telling people: “Yes, you do in fact need to do that thing you already know you need to do.”

Stay in a holding pattern too long and the plane will fall out of the sky.

I’m in that first future now, that I return to this stub of a draft, and I have already purchased the camera. Flew across the country with it, hiked up a peak with it. It’s a good little camera. Maybe I’ll keep it a while.

Ambiguity doesn’t always nourish, but it can sustain.