(The following is a re-post of something I wrote about a year ago)
I’m not a picture person. More specifically, I’m not a picture taking person. I love looking at photographs. I’m kind of a ham, so I love to be in photographs. But for some reason I have always been too lazy to actually carry a camera and take photos myself. I think it was the whole process of buying film, inserting it into the camera, sometimes even having to buy flash bulbs, rewinding the film when it was finished, having to take it to the drugstore to get it developed…it all seemed like such a hassle. No one under the age of 30 has any idea what I’m even talking about, but trust me, it was a rather burdensome process. Besides, my Grandma Mano, who was usually present at any momentous occasion in my childhood and teen years, ALWAYS had her “Kodak”. That’s what she called it, regardless of whether or not she was using that particular brand at the time. So for the first 18 years of my live I could just lay back and relax, cause someone else had the whole “capturing memories” process covered.
Unfortunately for me, this hasn’t been the case for the majority of the second half of my 35+ years on the planet. Yes Grandma still has had the majority of family events covered, but she’s 93 years old and won’t be here forever. Also, as people grow up, other people die, and relatives procreate and form their own branches on the family tree, there are less and less occasions where the whole family is together. As one grows into adulthood there are noteworthy events that don’t involve the family as well. So there have been a lot of things that have occurred over the past 17+ years in my life that are not captured on film to be remembered for time immemorial. For example, my four (ok, four and a half) years in college, what I consider to be the best time of my life, are vastly underrepresented on film. I have maybe a half dozen pics from that glorious era. There is some videotape, because at the time I had a new handycam and thought it was cool to break it out when I was drunk. But even that is underrepresented, as I was pretty much hammered most of my first 2 years there but only have maybe a couple hours total of tape. It makes sense that an 18-21 year old guy concentrating on getting hammered, getting stoned, and getting laid (2 out of 3 of which I accomplished with great acumen) wouldn’t carry around a camera telling everyone to “say cheese”. But it still saddens me that I don’t have photos of my friends and the fun things we did.
Three things have propelled me to rhapsodize on this issue. First of all, I bought a digital camera a couple years back. Those who know me and my situation know that I haven’t had much opportunity to use it the past couple years, but I have used it on a few occasions and I love it. It’s such an improvement over the old days, and I’m looking forward to using it more often in the coming days. Secondly, my father has been going through a bunch of old pics at his house and organizing them into little albums. I’ve really gotten a kick out of looking through them, seeing me and my family evolve over literally six decades, remembering loved ones that long ago left this realm. And finally, I had a dream. Well, actually a number of dreams over the course of the past few years. It’s one of two recurring dreams I have, the first one being me going to school as a teenager wearing no pants. However, that’s a topic to be explored another day. The recurring dream relevant to the current train of thought is one in which I am somewhere important…a reunion of old college buddies, a family event, a long desired trip to Vegas…and I’ve forgotten my camera and am unable to capture the memory on film. I’m sure Freud would have a field day with me on many levels, and especially with the hidden meaning of this recurring dream. I’ve never really studied dream analysis…never really believed in stuff like that. But maybe there’s something to it. I don’t know.
Do I have a point? Not really. Events that have past and were not marked in some tangible way can never be relived and must be remembered only in our hearts and minds. But as I grow older I suppose I get a little more nostalgic and realize the importance of having mementos like photographs to remember events, people, and eras in our lives.