The Dryden Observer

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If a man yells obscenities in the forest…does anybody hear?

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

It was a moment I marked for further reflection at a later time.

One of those briefest of instances when you recognize for a second how absurd your life has become, or at least how absurd it might look through the eyes of your grandparents.

I had been feathering my brakes through a steep rocky descent through the start of the Boneyard bike trail, when I heard the reminder chime from my phone.

A few days back I had set it to inform me when 15 minutes remained in an online auction for a potentially life-changing, albeit expensive wide angle camera lens located in Brooklyn, New York.

I kept on riding, perturbed as I was at the intrusion of a serious financial decision into my Zen state.

My five-minute warning came somewhere on the Starlight trail. It was there, among the mature jackpines that I cursed loudly and dismounted to confront the bleating smartphone and the opportunity it presented.

Sweat cooling on my skin, I began to suffer the escalating mental anguish that one experiences with watching a clock tick down while questioning the prudence of sending half a month’s salary to a stranger on the Internet by touching a button on your phone.

It never gets easier.

Things in this world you’ll never regret spending more money than you have to on: a good mattress, shoes, winter tires, hand-hammered Turkish cast bronze cymbals (trust me) and if you’re a camera buff — professional glass.

These items don’t come easily and they shouldn’t.

It takes years of struggling and making due with affordable gear in challenging light to truly understand how the best lenses can remove those technical limitations and obstacles that have halted your progress, how it can revitalize your entire creative outlook.

However, obtaining these rare, sought after items for ‘reasonable’ costs at auction is a competitive game.

Oblivious to my worry, the birds sang, fiddleheads poked up through the moss and the forest inhaled its serene first breaths of Spring as swaying tree trunks creaked and groaned.

Here in the forest there are no commission sales staff to play my insecurities against me and no wife to plead on behalf of reason. It is the ultimate shopping experience.

What a strange scene it would have been to come upon. A man at war with himself, pacing back and forth, helmeted and spandexed, over a section of trail mumbling shipping costs, customs duties and currency exchange figures, finger poised indecisively over an illuminated blue button as though it would launch a missile while red numerals count down to zero…

Push the button!

I did.

The clock ran out.

‘You have been outbid’… by 10 dollars apparently.

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