Social Media + iPhone Camera = Many, many vacation photos.
Oh, so very many.
If you’d like to walk back in time with me into a fictional setting, let us visit together Dorothy Parker’s short story, “But the One on the Right.” It’s an interior monologue from poor Mrs. Parker, who is attending a dinner party. She has the misfortune to be sitting next to a gentleman who has no idea of putting himself out there to make pleasant social conversation with his neighbor. She is bored out of her mind and wracking her brains for possible openers:
“Really, I suppose out of obligation to my hostess, I ought to do something about saying a few words to this macaw on my left. What shall I try? Have you been reading anything good lately, do you go much to the play, have you ever been to the Riviera? I wonder if he would like to hear about my Summer on the Riviera; hell, no, that’s no good without lantern slides.” —Dorothy Parker, “But the One on the Right”
Just think. Back in Mrs. Parker’s day, a person had to put real planning and effort into getting people to sit still and look at vacation pictures. She would have to invite them over, set up the slide lantern and possibly some folding chairs in the living room, and probably offer her guests refreshment. She would have to Make An Effort in exchange for boring her friends silly with her slides from her Summer on the Riviera.
Here in 2014, sharing vacation photos (pics! Sorry, of course I meant pics) has become all too easy. I’ve never done it myself, because doing so is just a little too close to smug for me. “Oh, look! Here we are traveling and having fun! Wish you were here!” The only exception I will allow is a proud parent who got a picture of multiple offspring together, looking happy, in an attractive setting. Such an occasion is so rare that it ought to be shared with one’s friends.
Yet another shot of palm trees against the sunset? Not so much. Ho-hum, Ms. Vacationer, it may surprise you to learn that that one’s been done before. A few times, even. At every souvenir stand that sells postcards anywhere. Oh, right, sorry, of course these are your palm trees against a sunset you are experiencing and kindly sharing with the rest of us. That makes it so much more riveting. Really.
Unfortunately, Ms. Vacationer jumps quickly over the line from Tedious to Just Obnoxious when she shares her pretty beach pictures with those of us back home who are continuing to grit our teeth to get through a particularly severe winter with lots of snow and slippery roads and cold temperatures. If you’re lucky enough to escape this kind of weather by jaunting off to warmer climes for a week, would you be kind enough not to point that out repeatedly? I mean, yes, we all know you are far away enough that we can’t actually slip poison into that nice tropical drink you’re enjoying. When you do come back, though, beware the wine at my next party. No doubt I will have a few willing conspirators who are as mean-spirited as I am about other people’s jolly fun times.
People on social media who want you to enjoy their vacation right along with them because they are just so excited to be there?
Simply Too Precious for Words.
Love you & leave you,