Friday, April 9, 2010
As much as I liked the watch — and was so grateful to my mother, who gave it to me as a birthday gift! — my mind already started wandering toward its replacement. “Someday,” I found myself imagining, “they’ll make one of these babies, only smaller and sleeker.”
And now, alas, the day has come: The new Garmin Forerunner 110 is out, and it’s a beauty. Sleek, slick, stylish. Doesn’t do as much, but half the bells and whistles on the 305 were useless anyway. (I really don’t need help getting home, thank you very much.)
But, with the heart-rate monitor, the new gizmo is $250. And as a husband and father of four, that seems like a lot of money to spend on something I don’t actually need in anyway.
Yes, my old watch is big, but how, exactly, is that a problem? Does it slow me down? No. Is it uncomfortable? Um, not really. And yes, the battery life is poor, but is sticking the old watch on the charger every couple of days really that burdensome? Well, no.
And there we get to the rub: Why do I want the 110? Because it’s new, because it’s cool, because (I think) I’ll look cool with it — and not look like the dork still wearing last year’s clunker. In short, it’s consumerism and vanity that are driving this perceived “need.”
As I’ve written before, the desire for ever newer and pricier gear is a real temptation for runners. Running Mom recently wrote eloquently about the subject, describing how she was briefly seduced into buying a pair of new running shoes when there was nothing, in fact, wrong with her old ones.
But “Blessed are the poor in Spirit,” Our Lord tells us — when we free ourselves from needless attachments and live with a true sense of poverty; when we neither possess what we own nor let it possess us.
As a gadget geek, that sort of detachment doesn’t come easily to me. I can muster up the will power not to buy the watch (and a tight family budget helps), but the appetite, that’s another matter — the spirit being strong, the flesh weak, and all that. So, I’ll resist buying the Forerunner 110 for now, but I can’t deny that in my corrupt heart, I find myself fantasizing about my old watch’s sudden demise!