This is not an unfamiliar sight for my car.
A little backstory. About a month or two back, I became obsessed with finding a high end compact camera to carry around with me, just to encourage me to shoot more of my personal life. I had gotten a new dSLR this fall to better my freelance photography- better wedding photos, better newborn photos, better family photos. But I wasn’t shooting much in my personal life. I don’t mind lugging my clunky dSLR everywhere, but often, it’s not practical. So I have been scouring the internet for the best compact camera, and it would run me $600 or so to do so.
Except I knew Christmas season was coming and it wasn’t in my budget at all to spend on a frivolous thing like that. Because, I mean, I had a cheap old compact camera, but it just wasn’t cutting it in quality. Did I really need a $600 digital camera? No. Just like my decade-long search for a high-end laptop for editing photos- I just couldn’t spend that much when I had a perfectly fine desktop in my room. I had put the camera in my cart several times, and even ordered it when I saw it go on sale for $550, but canceled the order shortly after. Christmas presents first, extension of photography in the future.
On Saturday, I had just finished shooting a college friend’s kid’s 1st birthday party. My car had been giving me some problems earlier in the week and I had planned on taking it to the mechanic after the shoot. Except it turns out I was going to do just that- the hard way. I had replaced the battery (in hindsight, needlessly) earlier in the week thinking the battery was on the fritz. It turns out the starter was actually the culprit, and I was stuck in the Galleria waiting for the tow truck to the mechanic that day.
I’ve grown up mostly trying hard to be independent. My dad is the kind of nice guy who never liked to bother people but always went above and beyond out of his way to help others. A more “do-it-yourself because other people are busy and it’s not so bad doing it yourself anyway” mentality which I took to heart growing up. I remember sometimes I would spend an hour taking the bus to the grocery store in college because I didn’t want to bother my friends to spend 15 minutes driving me there. But on Saturday, as the tow truck pulled into the mechanic’s lot, I was helpless. I asked a friend for a ride from the mechanic which was probably a 20 minute or so drive from the galleria area (meaning an hour of their time round trip and back to their place), and I was driven to a friend’s housewarming that night. I’ve always been adamant about driving- I’m going some place ANYWAY, so I can just pick YOU up. Guys always drive, it’s courtesy and a hardfast rule I live by (which is actually one of my pet peeves when guys don’t at the very least offer to drive). But here I was unable to drive and dependent on others.
And you know, it was hard for me to ask for help. Because people live busy lives, and asking for help meant asking them to interrupt their time to help me. But to paraphrase my friend, true friends aren’t just the ones you go out and party with, but the ones who are still there in the morning. And so I had to let myself be okay with being driven around instead of driving. It was a really strange feeling- almost a guilt for relying on others- but it was also a nice feeling knowing that people are also there for you when you need them.
On that Monday afternoon two days later, I picked up my car and looked at the bill- $600. Precisely the amount of the compact camera that I had been obsessing over but couldn’t budget for. And it was also several photo gigs’ worth of income gone in a swipe of a piece of plastic at the mechanic’s. I was sad, but when I think about it, I was really lucky too. If my car had died at any point prior to that photo shoot on Saturday, I could have been stranded in Dallas or I could have completely missed shooting my friend’s kid’s 1st birthday party. The spot that my car had died in was in a PERFECT position for towing easily, so that was another huge plus.
If I focus on the good, I can chalk it up to a $600 lesson in humility and being okay every once in a while with letting people in to help me. And that feeling of knowing people are willing to go out of their way to help you when you really need it is something that could never be fully conveyed through a photograph from any new camera.