Archive for August, 2008

How Much?

How much money is too much to throw at our hobbies and addictions? Is a hobby any better for us than an addiction? And what it the defining distinction between the two? I know plenty of people who consider their frequent binge drinking a hobby and others who consider their time engrossed in a novel to be an addiction.

How do we pull the plug on wasteful spending for our hobbies and addictions? Perhaps it is all wasteful spending. Hobbies and addictions shouldn’t be items or activities necessary for survival, even if our cravings tell us otherwise.

This post is really about a toy. A toy some would consider a hobby, but at times, really agitates me. I’m not sure if I should continue to throw away my hard earned money to prop it up any longer.

My saxophone is broken; it quit on me in the middle of a performance this afternoon, and I absolutely cannot figure out what is wrong with it. It has needed an overhaul for some time now, so I guess today pushed it over the edge. The last overhaul was when I purchased it about five years ago. Since then, I haven’t always treated it kindly, including many months it spent on board a boat. The corks have mostly all disintegrated and fallen off. The body has an unusual patina, more commonly known as rust. I can’t judge the pads, but a repairman would probably just add them to the work order.

Granted, my sax wasn’t in particularly good condition when I bought it. It is old and lived a hard life before I got my hands on it. It has “the look” and character, and at the time, it was all I could afford, although I knew it wasn’t even worth what I forked over. A complete overhaul would cost more than I think the instrument is worth.

I should buy a new (to me) saxophone. If budget wasn’t a concern, I would probably hunt down a well-maintained, un-dented version of what I have, because I have a strange love affair with old saxes. A perfect pre-1950 King Zephyr tenor is worth $2500 to $3000. They are also hard to find; the best places to look are pawn shops in big cities with musical flavor like New York, New Orleans, and Montreal. At the other end of the spectrum, I could afford a shiny brand new student-level model (read: poorly constructed) for a few hundred dollars, but….yuck. Although I know people who’ve done it, I would never buy a used sax on Ebay, because I prefer to test them first.

Purchasing a new sax of any age or quality has not been in my foreseeable future’s budget. I bought a road bike a few months ago, and boyfriend and I are talking about a vacation this winter to somewhere without snow. I suppose I’ll call the repair shop tomorrow and see if they aren’t too busy with back-to-school issues. My band has upcoming performances on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, so I’ll be borrowing another band member’s backup. It hasn’t been a happy afternoon.

What is Wrong With Me?

“Who needs sleep?
(Well you’re never gonna get it.)
Who needs sleep?
(tell me what’s that for?)
Who needs sleep?
Be happy with what you get.
And there’s a guy that’s been awake
Since the second world war.”
~Bareneaked Ladies (Who Needs Sleep)

You weren’t really going to answer that were you? And if you were, don’t you dare!

I know it is still only August. By every definition I’ve ever heard, August certainly qualifies as summer, but I have this urge to hibernate. Maybe this has something to do with the recent weather. It has been colder (perhaps 8-10 degrees below average) and showery, for three weeks now. And so I want to sleep and sleep and sleep. I’ve been falling asleep on my couch by 7 nearly every night, waking up just long enough to brush my teeth and stumble into bed, and still feeling exhausted when the alarm goes off. My contacts feel sticky and blurry, and so my eyelids droop a little farther. Boyfriend thinks I haven’t been getting enough stimulating exercise, so I tried going to the gym this afternoon. Now I’m sore and sleepy. I wanted to stay up(!) and watch the end of So You Think You Can Dance, but I don’t think I’m going to make it.

Good night.