Slide #238, Spring Vacation, Arizona (click)
Miss Fidditch is going to do one of her death-defying tricks today, way out at the end of a limb that could break and fall at any moment. And she’ll do it without a net. Let’s have the drum roll please!
Miss Fidditch is going to talk about selfies and photos of any kind on any smart or moderately intelligent device and the urge, nay passion, to share these with people other than the grandparents of those in the photo.
Is anyone here old enough to remember vacation slide shows? If not, here’s how they generally worked.
Your neighbors or friends came home from their two-week trip to some place in middle America, or maybe even someplace more scenic with mountains or an ocean or monuments of one kind or another and promptly invited you to a little dinner party. Now, the timing of the dinner party was usually a giveaway, but we were more gullible back in the day and believed a dinner party was just a social event.
After a nice dinner with five or six or more friends, the host – it was always the host – would disappear while the hostess invited everyone to retire to the living room for coffee and possibly dessert where we would find that the host had been busy setting up a slide projector and hanging a sheet on one wall. If they were better prepared, he might have figured out how to pull up a real screen for the much-dreaded surprise showing.
Our host greeted us and cheerily announced that he and Doris (why was it so often Doris?) had “some” slides from their vacation. “Some” was another word for four full racks of slides stacked on the coffee table next to him.
If any of us were lucky and had our wits about us, we’d make an excuse about how sorry we were that we couldn’t stay but that we’d promised the babysitter we’d be home by eight, and make a hasty departure. The first couple to make their excuse was allowed to leave. The rest of us were held captive through the droning monologue and the endless slides of “Doris next to the waterfall,” “Doris eating lunch at the historic diner,” “Doris, Doris, Doris,” along with bears or local children or the room at the Howard Johnson inn.
I write this with all affection for friends who traveled. But I also write it with memories of actually falling asleep during a few of these monologues in the dark with perhaps the most boring photos of all time.
Fast forward to 2017 and the world of selfies and smart phones ready to take a picture any old time. Smart phones that don’t require a projector or a dinner party or any preparation at all except to whip them out of the pocket or the purse ready to show the unwitting companion all the slides from the vacation or the cute pictures of the kids or the bears or what the owner had for dinner the night before.
BUT, the problem is that nine times out of ten, the holder of that phone is not quite as ready as the phone itself, so instead of the droning monologue and the click of the projector, we captives are now subjected to a different monologue and the side swipes of the frustrated photographer. The monologue goes something like this, “I know it’s here, where is it?, oh, here it is, no, wait, that’s not it, (downward scrolling), I know it’s here, I just saw it, (upward scrolling), just a minute and I’ll find it.”
When the photo is finally located, we are treated to a mini screen with the desired (by the owner) picture, which can, of course (this is 2017) be enlarged by the notorious finger spread, to get a good close-up of the artisanal meatloaf at Mac’s Truck Stop on Route 66 or the waterfall or the sign announcing that this was, indeed, North Dakota.
Because these personal photo “shows” almost always take place now in broad daylight anywhere and everywhere, there’s not even an excuse or possibility of falling asleep to avoid them. So we’ve learned to nod politely and smile and repeat, “Oh, that’s interesting,” or “So cute” or any other words that don’t include, “Please stop.” Our only other hope is that our own phones will ring and we’ll be called away to an emergency – like buying the window cleaning service from the guy on the other end of the line.
I’d like to note that when it comes to my immediate family and very, very close friends, I do like seeing your pictures. Just not all of them and not being ambushed over lunch or dinner with no place to hide.
With so many places to post photos these days on the Internet, we should all do that and then send a link so viewers can choose the time and place to view them, fortify themselves with a box of chocolates or a stiff drink and take breaks whenever needed (the older we are, the more frequently they’re needed) and skip over the ones of Doris in front of anything at all.
I hear the limb beginning to crack, so I’m climbing down now. I hope nobody’s taking a picture of this!