I’ve never been one of these girls who goes crazy with her camera. You know who I’m talking about. The ones who turn every single scenario into a photo opportunity? If they’re not choreographing a “cheers!” pic before you down your shots, they’re keeping you from eating your food until they’ve snapped the entire table’s entrees. You’ll see them mostly in bars or restaurants but the worst offenders can take the most mundane of situations and create an Instagram extravaganza.
Let me give you an example. I work with a girl, who while very sweet, manages to drive everyone nuts with her constant calls for “picture time!” It never ends. Recently we had a staff meeting after work. Nothing special about it, but apparently worthy of grabbing the maintenance guy and having him take this:
See how excited I was to be included? Naturally it ended up on Facebook within a matter of minutes.
Not long after our work meeting, there was a fire drill. I’m not sure why photographic evidence was warranted, yet there it is. The point I’m getting at, is that there are some people who just feel compelled to document every waking moment of their lives as if given they didn’t, they may cease to exist all together. I’ve never understood it.
Since starting this blog, my brain has been operating in a very different capacity. A particularly annoying one to be exact. Any time I go anywhere and anything is happening I’m thinking “Is this something I can write about?” You may struggle to believe what I’m about to tell you, but my life isn’t any more interesting than yours. Yet as someone who has chosen to write openly about it on a regular basis, I have to constantly come up with stuff that I hope people will want to read. So now when I’m at a bar watching sports with my brother, I’m fairly easy to spot because no doubt, I’ll be the douchebag taking a picture of the TV screen.
Hey, you never know? I may want to do a post about how pathetic my knowledge of football is given my awkward enthusiasm for it. (Stay tuned) However, it is now impossible for me to do anything fun without the constant urge to whip out my camera and start collecting proof.
Cut to this past Friday night. Vanna was in town and together with my friend Jackie, we actually made a dinner reservation at a fancy restaurant to be followed by drinks at an even fancier rooftop lounge. I can’t remember the last time I had dinner reservations so it was pretty exciting but as soon as we sat down I began feeling anxious.
The place was sooooo cool! It was super charming and there was weird stuff everywhere and they even put a framed sign on the table that read part in English and part in Russian “Waiting For Kelly”. I mean they converted my name into RUSSIAN! How the fuck was I not going to take a picture of this?!
But the more I thought about how I could turn the evening into a story, the more stressed out I became. I would have to take pictures of the dining room instead of look at the menu and then when the food came, I would have to arrange it just right so that it was shot from the perfect perspective. It was a total hassle. So even though I was initially uncomfortable putting my camera away, I decided it was in my better interest. If no one knew I went to dinner one night, I would probably still live the rest of my life being relatively happy.
Now I know I’m not blowing any minds with my topic here. Certainly phone etiquette, especially when it comes to putting down your cameras and enjoying the actual experience of existing, has been a heavily covered issue for some time. I just want to relate my personal experience. Once the pressure was off to relay what was happening over the course of the evening, I was able to breathe in the beauty of the moment itself. And the fact that my friends on Facebook and Instagram weren’t going to see how much fun I was having, wasn’t going to make our dinner less valid. (Especially since I could always write a thousand word essay about it on my blog)
And really, who would have cared? Last year on Jeff’s fortieth birthday we went to a super posh lounge. I was so taken with the place that I couldn’t stop snapping photos. However, I haven’t seen them since and I’ve never bothered to show anyone because why would anyone want to look? Is it not the biggest cliche that it’s a drag to sift through other people’s pictures? The only reason anyone does it on Facebook or Instagram is because it’s only slightly less mind-numbing than actually working. But no one’s going to miss a pic of a bunch of martinis pushed together if it’s never posted. I can’t remember a single thing that Jeff and I talked about that night but I distinctly recall the stress of needing to get a shot of the rooftop pool. And for what?
So I’ve come up with a solution. From now on, I’m going to decide ahead of time if the plans I have are picture worthy. I’m going to ask myself, is what’s happening tonight really going to be so interesting that I need to show my friends? Will anyone want to watch a one minute, unintelligible, shaky clip from me at a concert or care to see a picture of a group of us in a hotel lounge? Am I even going to want look at most of this stuff a year from now? Probably not. On those occasions I can just relax and have a good time. Before I even leave the house, I’m going to make the decision that my night will be purely for fun and for my eyes only.
Just like I did with Jackie and Vanna. Under normal circumstances, I would have a bunch of photos to prove to you how amazing our night was, but you’ll just have to take my word for it, because I didn’t take any.