The mission is to put air in the tires of my wife’s car. It is dark, bitterly cold, and we just want to get the job done. I don my heavy jacket and a pair of gloves. My son does the same. We bail out of the car to execute the game plan to speed things along. In that moment, I begin to realize the cost of chasing free air.
The week before, I had pulled into a different gas station, chasing free air for my ride. After failing to inflate my tire, I realized that there was a problem. Someone had removed the post in the air nozzle that forces the valve stem pin open. The compressor is useless to me.
This time, I give the nozzle a quick look. Sure enough, the post is missing in this one, too. The next station doesn’t have a compressor at all. Things are looking grim.
Another mile. Another gas station. A fine, coiled hose is available for $1.50. It doesn’t stretch enough to reach both sides of the car. I imagine it likely has a short cycle, too. That’s okay as the pin is missing in this one, too!
Another two miles to one of the newer, larger stops. The free air compressor, hiding at the end of a row of bushes, is damaged. Of course it is.
A short stint down the road to our fifth gas station finally delivers. As we fill the tires, a line forms behind us at this modern oasis of convenience. Everyone is chasing free tonight, it seems.
What should have been a five minute trip became a 45-minute drive. It has me considering buying a decent compressor for the garage.
This game of chase reminds me of a common refrain I hear from local models. Finding a photographer isn’t all that hard. It is finding the ones who are able to deliver consistent, quality product without drama that is the challenge.
As a model, when considering who you work with, keep the cost of chasing free in mind. You can get in front of the lens quick enough these days, but to what purpose? Make sure the photographer you work with is worth your time and effort.