18 June 2013

I saw a pelican and did not take a picture. Why that matters.

Hello faithful readers of five,

Yesterday, while out for a walk at Beaumaris Lake, I saw a pelican. Yes, a pelican. The jowly member of the avian species.  But I didn't take a picture of this exciting moment. That matters.

Rewind a few months - ever since I got my iPhone in November, I have become one of them. You know, the person who takes pictures of everything. I have joined the hoards of people who feel the need to capture everything: kids, animals, food, the fart in the wind. 

Taking pictures of amazing things isn't necessarily a problem. But there are three problems I see with taking pictures of every amazing thing.

1) Not everything is awesome. In fact, we've started to dilute what awesome really means.

There is a difference between taking a picture of a gourmet meal served by the finest chef at the finest restaurant, and taking a picture of your taco from the food court.

That breakfast in Vegas that was the bomb? The world sees a plate of eggs and a bowl of fruit. 

The kid taking their first steps? Awesome. The kid sitting on the potty? Not so much.

The scene of a beautiful waterfall in the mountains? That's cool. The pic of the dead bug on your windshield? Mmm-kay then.

2) We are becoming rude company.

When was the last time you visited with friends and didn't take a picture? When was the last time you had dinner with company at a restaurant and you didn't take a pic of your wasabi-roll? Of course, if it was just the pic you were taking, that would be one thing. But nope, we have to instantly facebook/tweet/whatever it. 

Don't mind the other person sitting there. They are not as important as letting your virtual pals knowing you are having a great evening.

3) In trying to capture the memory, we are missing out on the experience of what is around us. Experiences become meaningless.

When was the last time you just watched the sunset without whipping out your camera? When was the last time you simply enjoyed your dinner, without snapping a shot? When was the last time you travelled somewhere and just took one picture of the skyscraper, and not 10 pictures?  Or none at all?
When was the last time you watched your child hit a milestone without sharing it with the world? When was the last time you viewed something not through your camera viewer?

When was the last time you just lived the experience, and not captured the experience? When was the last time you lived in the moment?

I am guilty of all the above. I can't remember the last time I went anywhere and didn't have at least 10 pictures to account for the moment.

Last night, I had to leave my camera behind because I didn't have a pocket. I saw an amazing thing. I shared that moment with my husband. It was awesome. It was private. It was an experience.

I think we all need to find our pelican moment.