Today, one of my daughters got her driver’s license. Yay! So I had to take a photo of her holding up her wallet card… and I had to share it with my facebook friends. Then I had to send the image as a text message to my mother-in-law who refuses to use ‘the facebook’ (don’t get me started on this!). And I had to toss out a tweet. While I was doing all of this, my daughter was on instagram, then chatting with her dad, then texting him a selfie of herself holding her license.
Remember when we just watched stuff happen with our eyeballs and described it later to other people? Or if we really wanted a ‘forever’ image of an event, we would take a picture, wait to finish the roll of film, and then drop the whole roll off at the local pharmacy, which shipped it off to some exotic location to be ‘developed’? A week or so later, when we finally got the sacred envelop of ‘prints’ we would have to weed out all the ones with scary red eyes, closed eyes, or other disfigurements. Then, and only then, the surviving photos could be stuck in an album and subsequently buried in an upstairs bookcase, never to be seen again. Sigh… the good old days!
Now there is rarely a day that goes by without my capturing some precious life moment with my iphone. That apple pie I made for Sunday Dinner…the dog asleep on the sofa… my husband asleep on the sofa. These are obviously important things to document, not only for future examination, but also so that others can share in the excitement immediately. And the ‘others’ in my online community are equally eager to share their daily details with me. Vacation pictures are no longer limited to smiling group shots taken on the beach or at a ski hill. Nope. Now I get the covert sideways shot of the ‘big guy’ that activated my friend’s claustrophobia on a flight to Mexico, a video illustrating the size of the bathroom at her resort, and an online album dedicated to pictures of the drinks – various shaped glasses filled with coloured liquids, paper umbrellas and pineapple wedges – some showing a hand which may, or may not, belong to my friend.
We have clearly come a long way in terms of our ability to communicate but does all this capacity mean that we are now obligated to click, edit and share every off-line moment? Frankly, it’s becoming exhausting. Today, I grew weary of standing in the Registry of Motor Vehicles offices, rolling my thumbs around a keypad while the rush of excitement over a truly momentous happening slowly ebbed away. So I put my phone down, gently disengaged my daughter from her tiny screen, and led her outside to the real world, where she did some real driving.
We went as far as the nearest Starbucks where I treated her to a hard-earned mocha-crappa-frappa concoction and we talked about the driver’s test. It was fun, this verbal exchange, with her describing things and me trying to conjure up images in my imagination. And while I was tempted to take a picture of her sitting across from me (because she was all smiley-faced and animated), I exercised a bit of self-control and let my iphone cool down in the bottom of my purse. Tonight, when her father gets home, I will describe her animated smiley-face and he can use his imagination!