we have all been faced with the following questions: if you could have just one food the rest of your life what would it be? if you were on a deserted island and could only have one cd – what would it be? (i guess that would now be a playlist) and many other questions that create conversations and allow us to get to know one another better in uncomfortable social situations. of course, there is always that guy or gal at the party that says “it’s too hard” (with a look like they are so well versed in food and music that limiting their expertise on culture to just one answer is an insult), and in the process of answering the question – that no one is going to hold them to (like my animal) – takes over and creates conversation about every song on the planet and ruins the order and challenge of naming just one. frustrating me because i got both answers ready the night before. the party turns into five separate conversations and the cohesive “let’s get to know one another” game is now broken into a group of metal-heads discussing the best metallica album, another group discussing whether we are looking for a food like orange or combinations of foods like tacos or lasagna – and can you break the different dishes apart to eat noodles one day and turkey the next? then there is the guy alone in the corner who finally mustered the courage, and well thought out rationale, to say celion dion’s “taking chances” is the album he would take to the island. i think he’s already there.

somehow, someway i fried my external hard drive on friday. yes, my external hard drive that i hadn’t backed up for quite some time. yes, the external hard drive that held all my music and pictures. yes, the one i used instead of the internal drive – i think that my computer runs faster this way. yes, the external hard drive is fried, done, over. (well, there is someone we know in the neighborhood who kindly biked over yesterday and took a quick look at it – he gave a 10% chance that he could put the drive into his computer and be able to read the memory and a 50% chance that memory extraction software could get the information – after that he said it could be thousands of dollars. like animals with illnesses – there comes a time when you have to put them down. a tough choice for sure. how much is an animal worth? how much are those photos worth? music is replaceable – pictures are not. is it the value of getting your dog/cat better – pictures back? or the reality that you just don’t want to take the chance? a thousand dollar jackpot on a nickel slot is a far better pay-out than a thousand dollar jackpot on a hundred dollar slot. then there is the chance that you put thousands in and walk away with less than you had – which could taint the memories of what you are trying to get back. not remembering the good times with fluffy, but the thousand dollars that you could have spent on a new television.) fortunately we have hard copies of our favorites, thank you r., and back-ups of a.’s early years. um, h., yah, um. well we can draw pictures of your childhood. that’s cool right? reality – we have pictures, and, as r. and i discussed, probably more than our childhoods combined – even if we lose a large amount.

as i went through the first, private in my room not wanting to come out, wave of anger, sadness, and fear, the pictures flashed through my mind – flip book style. wishing i was running out of a burning house, not really, and could choose the ones worth keeping (if your house was on fire what three items would you grab?). which pictures would i choose? is there one moment that a picture defines better than my ability to create that moment-in-time through a story? would i pick the moments after our children were born or h.’s first spaghetti dinner? couldn’t i grab a friends “first spaghetti dinner” picture and either say it was them or say “yah, that is what you looked like too”. i can’t help but think that the pictures that best define our lives are not the grand events that are “suppose” to be recorded, but perhaps the ones that record what our lives were/are really like. we are not our christmas cards, in fact most of the time we are far from that “matching sweater-creepy looking santa claus-angry from standing in line” mess of a picture. what we really are?: far off looks when we don’t know the camera is out, off-centered smiles and hugs, pouts with hands over our faces, alone in rooms, lost in thought, eating left overs, popping balloons cause they are annoying and a vehicle for arguments, spilling drinks when we run to the windows because mommy is home, sleeping in bed together when we’re sick, eating leftovers again (leftover leftovers?), and a myriad of other moments that are better left lived and told through a story than ruining with the time it takes to pull out a camera, and that camera is like when uncle rupbert comes to dinner late – dynamic shift.

i am as guilty as any with “over documenting” our lives, and perhaps ruin, or change, moments that are best left lived than recorded. i go back and forth and side to side on this issue and definitely have waves of more writing and picture-taking than others. our ability to record everyday history is different from in the past. no wonder life was so much better “back then” – no one had proof to show how crummy it was, just distorted memories of the good times to pass on to their kids and smiling christmas card pictures for proof. proof. we now have proof that things were a certain way, rather than relying on and trusting our elders that “this is how it was”, we can look at copious amounts of pictures that point to the fact that there wasn’t a “single” way “it” was. each generation should want the next to be better than them (a wise man passed that on to me) and with this “proof” of events that are either best left to stories or forgotten about all together, we reveal too much of the mystery that makes us respect our elders. we are now unable to select what we show to our youth and when, it is all there for them to see on their own, and if a picture is shared without a story – the mind is able to create its own. the order of passing information to the next generation has been bastardized and the cesspool of images are left to be interpreted by young minds without guidance. hmm. mystery sure helps maintain control, respect and power doesn’t it.

i need more time with the thoughts that this topic has created, but a., h., and i are going to head out for a swim.