Anyone remember the “old days” when you got invited to watch someone’s vacation slides? We sat in a darkened room looking at a canvas screen while the trip taker clicked the slide cartridge one picture at a time. Most shows included two full cartridges and we usually got snacks. Though the pictures told most of the story, the trip taker’s narrative could really make or break the presentation. If you prayed for a massive storm to take out the electricity towards the end of the first carousel; the narrator was monotone or the trip was to middle Kansas.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, when few travelled overseas that often and people dressed for plane rides, the shows could present fresh images of never before seen places. If you got a trinket from the country visited, even the better.
The slide show experience of course went the way of other cultural standards like four channel television, records, and riding in the bed of a pickup truck. Until recently that is.
Though every smart phone includes photo presentation software, nothing compares to the IPhone’s ability to show one’s pictures. With the slightest movement, you can brush through an entire two-week trip to Hawaii or most recent family occasion. But herein lies the rub. No longer does one get invited to watch a slide show. Rather, on most occasions the slide show is thrust upon you, usually at the most inopportune time. Standing in line at Starbuck’s about to order, while driving, or at a party. There is no ask, no choice and no snacks. Just a small, hand-held screen moving from picture to picture while one seeks to avoid head-on traffic or listen above the din of coffee drinkers.
Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate people sharing their lives; it’s just a matter of timing. We no longer wait for photo or slide processing to view our moments and thus the events surrounding the presentation thereof have become fragmented and immediate. And I am not suggesting we go back to the aforementioned slide shows, but a few snacks wouldn’t hurt.