Remember when we couldn’t wait to pick up our vacation photos at Photo-Mat, or whatever it was called? We were so excited to see how they turned out that we’d dive into the package before we even left the shop. Days had passed since we dropped off the film spool, or cartridge, if we were using an Instamatic.
We started to relive the trip as we shuffled through the photos, delighted when we saw ourselves standing in front of a famous site. Sometimes we were disappointed when a photo didn’t turn out (like the entire roll my uncle Normie took at my Sweet Sixteen party), but we got over it. If we were conscientious, we put the photos in albums, which give us great enjoyment to this day. If we were lazy, we shoved them in drawers, but still love rediscovering them.
Enter the IG Age (instant gratification). We stand in front of the Eiffel Tower, take a photo and immediately study the digital image. If we don’t like the way it turned out, we erase it and start again. We return home, transfer the images to our computers if we’re conscientious and print them out if we’re especially diligent.
Our photos today are definitely better quality, but the relationship we once had with them went the way of Photo-Mat.
Remember when we were away and missed our loved one so much, it hurt? We couldn’t wait to hear his/her voice and see his/her face again. Now we call each other 17 times a day and Skype it up. Mystery and yearning went the way of pay phones and handwritten notes.
Remember when someone angered or upset us and we counted to 10—or 100—to calm down? Now our fingers fly to the keys to compose an emotional email. Our internal voices of reason are practically mute.
Remember when we couldn’t wait till we arrived home so we could check our message machine? Now we check our Blackberry, iPad or phone 285 times a day for emails, IMs or VMs. Anxious anticipation went the way of the answering machine and land lines.
Remember when we couldn’t wait to surprise someone with good news? Now we fall all over ourselves to broadcast everything to everyone on Facebook.