Sitting at Petco in San Diego, watching the Cubs versus the Padres, in the wrong seats. Suddenly a gaggle of young women appear to take rightful ownership and we move on, deciding to stay where we are, but several rows further back. But my eyes are on the girls, one in particular, who is flinging her hair this way and that, posing with a beer, or mugging for her shot. I am fascinated by her demeanour, a black lacy bra barely covered by a loose grey topper and her continual pony tail clips removed or repositioned as she rearranges her blond- black carefully composed hair. She does not raise her eyes to the game. She has only eyes for herself. We’re watching Anthony Rizzo. I’m teasing my grandson that Rizzo’s specialty is rice, as in Anthony Risotto. So I suggest he should be a chef, not heating up the home plate, but one at a fancy restaurant.
But back to selfies.I recall selfie sticks have been banned in Disneyland, yet I’m quite sure that we observed a few people using selfie sticks, obviously ignoring the ban. Perhaps the officials at Disney worried that someone might chase Goofy or hit Mickey on the head with one.
This preoccupation with selfies puzzles me. Once in an art gallery viewing the Van Gogh Irises, young people gather – not to look but to pose in front of the million/ billion dollar picture. Again I’m not sure why. Are they thinking: Intelligent Me with famous picture! 🤓Sporty Me at baseball game⚾? Excited me with the presidential hopeful😀? Are these pictures posted elsewhere to show what a wonderful life the selfie taker leads? But truthfully, there is no real interaction between the person and the location.The background is merely landscape for a “kinda portrait: a portrait for posting that forgets the reason for the pose.
Why not then just stay home and take a picture in one’s home? At least a person lives in their house and dresses and eats and sleeps there so they can be camera ready, having interacted within the actual space with which they are familiar.
In terms of the Irises. The selfie- takers blocked the way of the real art lovers who wanted to think about and truly look at the picture. When asked to- at least- move off to the side of the painting, they stood firm,attempting to find the right focal point that included both themselves and the famous work of art.
I ask my grandson, “Why do people do this?” He tells me that if there was an app, then we could substitute different locations without having to visit a particular place and take a selfie there. Then there could be backdrops of the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, baseball games or even skiing in the Alps⛷.He continues, “Why buy a selfie stick, if you could just ask a passerby to take a picture of you or just extend your own arm to take a shot?”
Maybe our digital life is better than a real one? Again my grandson, aged 7, suggests that if your life in photos is better than actual life that maybe selfies will enhance and make your life better. However, increasing your digital life might actually cause your real life to be worse because you do not talk, look or enjoy what you are doing.Therefore, these shots really make your life worse, depending if you spend all your time taking these selfies. My grandson allows that if you are an occasional selfie taker, this does not apply to you.
Fortunately when we visited the USS Midway, he actually met a pilot who had flown one of the planes on board that gigantic ship. He interviewed the man and enjoyed an illuminating conversation. Had he been busy only asking the man to merely pose, the interchange would have been lost. Not an anonymous picture of an old guy in an uniform, but now my grandson has a memory locked in his head to treasure in his mind’s eye forever :a real moment, not a digital stamp that has lost its value as soon as the camera or cell phone stopped its snap . Sometimes you forget about pictures you take and the selfie retains no value at all, lost among so many others.
My grandson reminds me that at the zoo he overhears people cooing, “ Interesting, interesting, ME at the zoo.”But are they watching the giraffes reaching towards the fresh food? Are they noticing that the furry balls of koalas are snoring?Did they see the restless polar bears waiting for a cool room so they could escape the warm weather? I don’t think so.
Even at dinner tonight, we see more selfies. Someone using Snapchat, adorning their heads with flowers. The caption beneath the shot might say “Hungry me at restaurant.”😱They were not enjoying their food, only fixated on the funny gestures they were making.
Which brings me back to Anthony Rizzo. Instead of taking selfies, those girls should have been shouting, Bring me some risotto.