I don’t know why it is – maybe it’s because of last year’s market slowdown, or maybe it’s because our Canadian dollar has been all over the map in the last few years – but lately I’ve taken a keen interest in the economy, and regularly read the Financial Post, and I watch the currencies market.
Anyway, last week I found myself attending a meeting after work that I would normally never even think about. It was my credit union’s annual general meeting (known as AGMs). It was, as you can expect, pretty f**king boring, really. They talked about balancing the books and they bragged about how they managed to tread water while banks in the U.S. were losing their shirts and running to the government for bailouts. Seems to me their bragging was well-earned, even though the entire banking structure in Canada is fairly conservative to begin with, and so wasn’t subject to the same risks to which the banks in the U.S. were exposed.
I went, primarily because I’m still keenly interested in the technology side. The idea of having phones that you can use as banking swipe cards seems slightly orgasmic to me. I’m in love with the idea of a reduction in the steps it takes to purchase something. I look forward to the day when lineups anywhere – banks, movie theatres, cashier lineups – will be a thing of the past. Something that our children’s children will look back at and say “gee Grandpa – you mean you had to actually *wait* to pay for something?”
How ironic is it that I have a problem holding on to money? And the fact that my discretionary spending is spent on technology?
And how further ironic is it that one of my most prized technological possessions – my $500 Shure earphones – was lost while attending this banking meeting?
Yet still, this fascination with the economy continues to maintain my ADD interest. Along with technology, women, movies, and whatever else crosses the home plate of my wayward consciousness every day.
Not cars though. Automobiles may look nice but, in a busy city like Toronto (which the transit system covers like a close-meshed spiderweb, with frequent service to pretty much any place you want to go) that’s their only appeal. I’ve checked it out a few times: the time it takes to travel by car from my place to the furthest southern spot in Toronto is far greater than the same route taken by overground and underground transit. With the car, you’re paying for: the car itself, maintenance, parking, insurance and of course you can’t go anywhere without gas. All of that amounts to about a zillion dollars a month. A monthly transit pass: $100.00. Seems a no-brainer, and I haven’t owned a car for years.
There’s just simply no advantage to having a car, that I can see. It just costs too much.
Outside of the city, it’s a different story. There are always car rental places.
It’s amazing to me that I can be so wise when it comes to cars, but so foolish sometimes when it comes to other high-priced items. Is it really necessary to pay $300.00 per month to my cable company? Granted, there’s a lot of coverage with that (which includes internet and my iPhone plan) but really, do I watch more than three channels per month? Answer: no.
Plus I’ve got technology out the ying-yang. Even so, I still find myself checking out Macbook Pro laptops and even Macbook Air, while there is contemplation of the new iPads that will come to Canada very soon.
Maybe there’s a lack of balance going on here. A need for focus that can’t come except by external means. Maybe I need an engineer to devise a mini-taser device that zaps me if I drag out my wallet for anything other than true necessities.
There are no excuses. Not really. Doesn’t mean I won’t dream some up.
“Well it’s Ok that I use money on technology. Some people drink or gamble their paycheques away.”
Which is true, but it doesn’t mean there’s carte blanche just to spend like there’s no tomorrow.
“It’s probably depression. Some people shop, you know. Isn’t that what you’re doing?.”
There’s merit to that too. I do feel better for a little while after buying something. Yesterday I purchased a $300 Bose speaker system for my computer. The sound is amazing. The dearth of cash is not. How long this good feeling will last is anyone’s guess. My best guess: not long.
Maybe if I took a course on economics. That would tie up some time so I couldn’t go out spending money.
Which reminds me: it’s late afternoon and I haven’t been out for my coffee break yet. Time to head to Starbucks. I’m sure there’s change around here somewhere that I can use to buy a nice little $5.00 coffee…..