I Am Photo Man

If you’d ask me 20 years ago how I felt about phones,
I’d have said something along the lines of them being
perfect for tossing out of windows to test the theory of gravity.
But today, today I find them essential, not as phones, but as cameras.

Remember the good old days of film rolls and hazardous
exposure to light that could ruin every trip photo you took?

Remember how hard you had to think about what to use your precious few
exposures for, think about running out of film, think about
how important it might be to take a photo again because
you knew how expensive developing those pictures could be?

Remember racing to the drug store to pick up that precious packet of pictures,
rifle through them on the spot to make sure they’d turned out the way you wanted?

Remember the heartbreak of discovering that a photo you might have prized most
had been under- or over- exposed, had developed into a partial image only,
or worse had only amounted to a mass of black despair
staring you in the eye like the perfect storm that would sink your ship?

How many rolls should I carry with me on my trip?
Should I buy 12, 24 or 36 exposure rolls, or should I
roll my own, saving money with a bulk purchase,
like buying a kilo brick instead of a dime bag?

Remember how those days are long gone now, missed as much
as a boil the size of an egg burning your backside until the blessed day of lanced relief,
the puss gushing free like Niagara at the end of the ice age?

Don’t like the first one, shoot another, shoot ten, shoot and shoot again.
Remember coming home with a hundred precious photos or slides?
Ta-dah!  Here are my 1000 photos of everything I ate on my trip,
and here are several thousand more per day
of everything I saw from waking moment to dropping into a sleep I could not film.
Sit back and prepare to review this super-sized album,
one that would take up all the shelf space in your home,
sinking your house into the primordial ooze, and artifact to be
unearthed and fully documented – in photos – by some future archaeologist.

I lost my phone last night in Busan.
It was a terrible experience I’d never suffered before.
My baby had been untimely ripped from my snapshot trigger-fingers,
and all was tears, idle tears, and hand-wringing, and wailing
like a man who’d lost his one true love in a storm off Cape Horn,
the tragedy from which he would never recover, his psyche mortally scarred,
leading him into a downward spiral of dwindling away to wraith-like nothingness,
his untimely death only a hop, skip, and tragically brief time hence.

Then I returned to the bus and found I’d left it in my seat.
If I could have taken a picture with it, of it sitting there, without me,
I would have, but I would have needed a second phone
to memorialize the moment, which is not a bad idea when you think about it.

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