Monday, January 27, 2014

Candid Camera, Where Were You?

As readily available as video cameras are these days, there are still many memorable moments that pass by uncaptured. I was thinking about some of those moments in my life recently, and I came up with several that I thought were worth sharing, some even at my expense. Some of these moments seem nigh impossible to capture because the thought to want to capture it comes way too late, or the moment itself is so unexpected that a camera could never be whipped out in time. Some of these moments I think actually happen quite often, and may even have happened to you. Some are big, some are small, but I find them all entertaining.

Thankfully, the fact that these moments were not caught on tape I think solidifies them in my memory bank way more than if I had actually recorded them. When we record something, do we make less of an effort to remember the details, the experience, the emotions because we can just look at the video or the picture later? Do we get lazy about drinking in and savouring an experience when we can rely on technology instead? How does that affect our memories of the experiences? I wonder about that.


When Joel proposed to me, we were in Tobermory and had hiked for what felt like forever until we came out to an outcropping overlooking Gorgeous Georgian Bay. I was not expecting him to propose while we were away camping because I didn’t think it was very romantic to have not showered for a couple days. He knelt down, as is custom, but ditzy me just looked at him and said, with a teeny bit of valley girl attitude (yuck!), “What are you doing? Are you sitting down?” Then he asked me to marry him. I wish we had a photo or video of that moment. However, if we did have video of the proposal, we probably wouldn’t have started taking photos of us re-enacting the proposal every year when we go to Tobermory and hike out to that outcropping (which is now nicknamed Holy Ground).



How anyone manages to get footage of their baby taking his or her first steps is really impressive. I didn’t, and sometimes I wish I had because of, you know, the significance and everything. Seriously, though, unless you have a video recorder poised and at the ready at all times, how do you know when your baby is going to give it a go? By the time they take a step and you’ve fiddled with the camera and have it ready, they’ve probably fallen over, the magical moment wiped out forever. In my experience with my kids, they could not say the words “walk” or “step” or “look at me,” not to mention lacked the general wherewithal to give me time to get the video camera ready before they started walking. It’s impossible, right? It’s a Catch-22 – by the time they can tell you to watch them walk, they are already walking. So if you have footage of your baby’s first steps, then wow, I’m impressed, and I also don’t really believe you.


This is technically a milestone moment because it was the first and last time I ever brought my car to one of those drive-in and sit-in-your-car-while-you-wait oil change places: Oil Changers, I think it’s called. Joel was like, “Hey, you should go! Here’s a coupon! It’s easy; just drive in and sit in your car while you wait! They’ll do it in like 10 or 15 minutes!”

Yes, that all sounds great—if you know where everything is in your car and you don’t get flustered when you are put on the spot.

I pull in, and the guy tells me to keep going. I keep going. Then he tells me to “stop” with eyes wide and gestures frantic. Oh, crap, I almost hit him, but I slammed on my brakes just in time. He asks me to put my left and right blinker on, no problem. Then he asks me to put my hazards on. Um, right, the haaazards—that triangular icon somewhere. But where? I go embarrassment-blind and it takes me a good 7 seconds to locate it. Bingo! There you are, you elusive triangle! Hit the hazards, no problem. Then he tells me to pop my hood. Oh crap. Where’s that lever? I look around, but he locates it before I do. OK, no problem, my cheeks are a little flushed but that’s fine. Big deal. I’m just a customer, with really nothing to prove, right?

Then I get to sit there for 10 minutes, embarrassed, totally “the blonde who didn’t know how to pop her hood” to all the guys working, afraid of what they might ask me next, and not really sure of what to expect next but like heck I was going to ask any questions whatsoever and make myself look a fool once again! I vowed to never show my face there again.

The Look on Your Face

One second after carefully applying a coat of mascara, I feel the urge to sneeze violently. Oh gosh. Wait; how am I going to do this? In a panic, I try to sneeze with my eyes open wide enough that my top and bottom lashes don’t squish together and smudge mascara everywhere, but also try not to sneeze with my eyes totally open (because everyone knows your eyeballs will come out of the sockets if you do that). I imagine myself looking like a squinting lemur (with pretty eyelashes),  the lower part of the eye squinted up, eyebrows raised and forehead furrowed, with a general expression like that of someone saying, “Whaaaa?” During the sneeze, the lemur invariably phases into a raccoon.


Trying to brush a small child’s teeth – When he opens his mouth (victory!), I open mine. When he moves his mouth around to accommodate the toothbrush, I move my mouth around. When he bares his front teeth, I bare mine. I look like a feral dog with a completely contorted face doing vocal exercises without making any sounds. Why have I never thought to set up a camera?


This isn’t one specific moment because there have been oh so many like this: Any time anyone tries to get a baby/babies/children to smile for a photo, there should be someone specifically assigned to take video or photos of the adults who are gesturing and making weird faces trying to get the kids to look and smile for the camera because those pictures of the adults would be the real gems. Who cares about the smiling children? I want to see pictures of adults making funny faces and acting like idiots!


On the night of my bachelorette party, I went dancing with friends. I was getting frustrated, but in a happy sort of way, at all the guys who were moseying in to our circle trying to dance with us, so I would yell at them and dance them away—dance with them, while pushing them away. I kind of felt like the “mama bear” of the group. Then, I fell on the dance floor. Right on my behind. I erupted in laughter so that I had difficulty getting up. As it turns out, I was definitely the sloppy Bambi of the group. (Yep, I was wearing heels.)


One summer in Tobermory, back when we used to camp instead of rent a cottage, we were sitting at a picnic table outside. Joel had a knife and was messing around a little: with his hand palm-down on the picnic table, fingers spread wide, he was very slowly poking the knife in the table in the spaces between his fingers. Then somehow a bet materialized—“Ten bucks says I could drop the knife from up here (the tip about 8” from the table) and get it to land in the gap between my fingers.”

Yeah, the knife landed just to the side of the fingernail of his left middle finger. The knife just stood there. The look on his face—hmmm, how do I describe it: frozen into a perfect blend of genuine shock and sharp pain—was hilarious. We couldn’t speak for about five minutes, we were laughing so hard. One of our friends stumbled into the woods, doubled over. We couldn’t even help him with the injury, we were laughing so hard.


At a friend’s wedding about 4 years ago, I was helping Joel carry his gear into the reception room (his band was playing), and all I had to bring in was the smallest speaker he had (which was still awkward and heavy for a dainty person like me!) It’s redundant to the story, but again, I was wearing heels, and my left ankle gave out, but when I tried to recover by putting all my weight (plus the weight of the speaker) on my right ankle, that one gave out too, and so I put all my weight back on my left ankle, which gave out again. I continued across the room in this fashion, the weight of the speaker finally flinging me right into a nice group of people chatting quietly.

(On the plus side, now Joel never asks me to help him carry anything!)

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