February 7, 2011

The Untimely Death of a Beloved Companion and the Valuable Lesson I Learned In the Process

I have learned an incredible lesson this past weekend – a lesson which has, ultimately, cost me the life of my Nikon camera and four months worth of valuable photographic memories. On Friday night I made the mistake of taking my camera out to the bars. I’ve done this before without consequence so I thought, “No big deal. It won’t be so bad.” As the night progressed, and as my friends and I moved from bar to bar, more alcohol was consumed and, as a result, my level of drunkenness ran parallel to my level of consumption. For any person who has ever had one of these nights, you know perfectly well what I mean. The more you drink, the dumber, louder, and more uninhibited you become. This, unfortunately, is what what happened to me. At some point in the night, at one of our favorite hostel bars, I took my camera out of my bag and it met it’s untimely demise. Somewhere between arriving at the bar and then leaving it an hour or so later, my camera took a generous bath in some of German’s finest light beer. I don’t know how much or when or how it happened because my drunken memory is failing me but what I do know is that I went through the entire night and much of the next morning without a clue that this had happened.

On Saturday morning, as my friends and I waited for an UBahn to take us into the city for brunch, I took my camera out of my bag to start the trip off with some necessary photography. Low and behold, I find that my camera does not work. It turned on and the LCD screen showed what the lens was seeing but the green ON/OFF indicator light wasn’t lit, which was unusual. I had the camera in photo mode, aimed and then pushed the shutter button only to have the LCD screen go black and my point-and-shoot lens recede back into the camera at an usually slow speed. There wasn’t an error message or anything. Just that. I tried it again a few more times. Same problem. My friend Scott tried to mess around with it but nothing worked. After a little bit of detective work, I find that the lens is covered in sticky beer and that my camera smells like Oktoberfest.

German Beer: 5,000,000. Heather: 0.

FML. This kept running through my head all afternoon. Eff-Em-El.

As the weekend wore on, I tried all kinds of fix-it suggestions – given by friends on Facebook and through Google (which was fairly useless in this situation because, apparently, this camera sucks and no one ever buys it). I couldn’t really let the camera sit to dry because the spill had happened more than 12 hours earlier. It was already dry. I couldn’t take the camera apart because I had no idea what to do in that situation (although once, in my freshmen year of college, I took apart my old school Cybershot to fix a lens error and it worked!). So, I went with the only suggestion I had left. Submerge your camera in a bowl of rice to draw out condensation. I didn’t have very much rice so I had someone bring me a bag and then I just let it be for two nights.

This morning, I took my camera out of the rice bag for a progress report only to find that rice had gotten inside the lens and inside the flash compartment and that the camera is now worse off than it was before. Can I repeat myself? Eff-Em-El.

I’m sitting here at my desk with my bruised and, ultimately, defeated Nikon sitting in front of me and I’m trying not to have a panic attack. I haven’t even had this camera for a year. I got it at the end of March, last year. It was a graduation present from my mom and her boyfriend and it was something nice that I would have to document my year abroad in Germany. So far, it hasn’t let me down. Aside from a few issues with blur management, the camera has been faithful to me. It didn’t deserve this untimely fate, which, on my budget and my current situation, is the only option that I have left; to just let it be. I could try to take it apart and fish out the stray pieces of rice but I won’t know what I’m doing and I will probably just make it worse. I could take it into a shop but that would require finding one that speaks English, where costs aren’t high. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t even know what kind of warranty this camera has and I highly doubt that my warranty covers “beer spillage.”

There are worse things in the world that can happen to me. This much I know. And I will move on and get past it. There are other cameras in the world to save up for a buy. I still have my crappy Cybershot to take pictures with. It’s not the same but it will have to do. But, at the end of it all, I have learned a very valuable lesson. Two, actually.

Lesson 1: Don’t take your expensive, fancy camera out when you go drinking at bars.

Lesson 2: You have to make mistakes to learn these lessons, unfortunately, but you are human, you are not perfect, and you have to forgive yourself and move on.

I am disappointed in myself, of course. I should have known better. But I have learned to take better care of my valuables, especially those that are given as gifts, and I am continuously learning lessons in the consequences of my alcoholic intake. I do not yet have a problem or an addiction but I am constantly feeling the consequences of my drunken behavior and I wonder if it’s time for me to start paying attention to that. I know that this is part of the experience of being young and being in Germany but if I don’t take action now, I fear that I’ll cross a line that I can’t come back from. I hope that I can be strong for myself and that my friends will understand and support me should I try to take action against my poor drinking habits. We shall see!

Until then, I will do what I can with my Cybershot and should my Nikon ever come back to life, you’ll be the first to know. Or second, after Facebook, of course. ;)

DSC07532It feels like spring here in Munich right now. Hope my Cybershot does it justice.


McGriddle Pants said...

Hey don't knock the cybershot! Some of us are poor and have never been able to afford those amazing, wonderful, so-jealous-you-have-or-used-to-have Nikons!! :)

Yes, the cybershot sucks kind of, but it does well in a pinch. And why didn't you take THAT ONE to the bar!! hahahaaa

And don't feel bad, I've lost TWO -cound 'em- TWO cameras to beer. They're just really thirsty!!

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