Breaking My Camera at the British Museum & Other Musings

A blue plaque in London

Once a year I take a selfie to chronicle my aging self. I do it because ten years from now I’ll look at it and think, I look so young!

We have drawers full of snapshots we have not put in albums. Travel has fueled the quantity of pictures. In London a few years ago, I took a lot of random pictures of blue plaques commemorating writers’ houses, bike lanes (my husband’s request), and a sculpture of a blue cockerel temporarily installed at Trafalgar Square.

In fact, I got a little camera-happy. Truth to tell, I broke my camera at the British Museum. I dropped it while snapping pix of ancient artifacts. I should have bought the postcards. Well… I did.

Tourism is so much fun. One lovely morning I found myself contentedly standing in front of Buckingham Palace, too late for the changing of guard, but perhaps better without. Then a group of people asked me to take their picture on an iPhone.

“I don’t know how to use this.”

Really, I didn’t. This would not end well.

I pushed a button. The wrong one, actually. “Sorry, you’ll have to get somebody else!”

Who took this pic of Mom and me?

After that I refused to take ANYONE’S picture. And, indeed, I come from a family of camera-shy women. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother declined to have their pictures taken, and, indeed, rarely deigned to use the camera. Someone else always took the pictures. Odd how these things get passed on, isn’t it?

But what a different era now! We document our lives in pictures on phones and the mysterious Cloud. We have selfies, selfie-sticks, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube, Booktube, and so much more.

I try to imagine my grandmother taking a selfie. Preposterous!

But there is a historical relationship between the present OCD phone addicts and the videoheads of yore. A few days ago, when Oprah announced that her new Oprah Book Club pick is Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead quartet, I realized Oprah may have been the first Booktuber! (Only it was TV.) Many a Booktuber could learn from her concise, enthusiastic style. Certainly achieving that is much, much more difficult than it looks.

Ah, if only we could travel again, without an iPhone preferably. I was thinking of India–under the influence of reading Rumer Godden.

Happy Weekend Reading!

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