I pity people my age who don’t have a teen-age or adult child close at hand – how do they manage to muddle through this brave new world? I transitioned from my trusty IBM Selectric to a PC early in the eighties and I spend a lot of time typing; you might reasonably conclude I’ve developed an aptitude for the cyberworld, an intuitive understanding.
Not so much. I can be successfully challenged by something as mundane as programming a VCR or switching from cable to Roku. Fortunately, my children grew up with computers. When J and I are stumped, S comes to our rescue. It’s embarrassing how often she points out my mistake was failure to plug the cord in an outlet. To his credit, J does not make that particular bonehead error. But there are plenty of others.
One thing I will never understand is why I look so much worse in photographs than I do in the mirror. The difference is drastic and even more extreme between my image on a device or monitor compared to my reflection. Why the disparity? Does my brain soft focus my face whenever I venture near a mirror? Why can’t I see the lines and imperfections in the mirror when they are so obvious in photos? I know where to look for them.
Maybe it’s actually a kindness, similar to amputees who don’t immediately feel the loss of a limb. They’re protected, numbed, by a layer of shock. Perhaps my brain refuses to traumatize me with the reality of my real image. The same weird affect occurs when I see pictures of J versus when I look at him in person. J looks older on glossy or matte paper than he does in real life. For all these reasons, I consider facial identification on any electronic device a cruel and unusual punishment for me and many of my peers. Resist!