Friday, May 15, 2009

Modern-Day Dilemmas

Today I heard a bittersweet story about an old man and a digital picture frame. The old man in this story has early onset dementia and having pictures around helps him to remember faces he might otherwise forget. It also helps his caregivers to have a glimpse or several of the wonderful life he lived Before. So, in this very modern age, his daughters thought a digital picture frame would be a wonderful gift for him. Makes sense, yes? After all, space is limited in those assisted living places and there are only so many surfaces and so much wall space to accommodate frames. With a digital frame you can have hundreds of pictures...perfect. Only, not so much. One day, the daughters noticed that the old man had covered the picture frame with an article of clothing. Not one casually tossed, but one carefully placed to hide the pictures. When questioned, he explained that the picture frame made him uncomfortable. He'd look and see one picture and them look at it again and it was changed. And then changed again. He thought his mind was playing terrible tricks on him and he couldn't bear it.

I have one of those digital picture frames, too. I mostly love it. It was a present from Dave and he has loaded it with hundreds of pictures from the last last twenty-something years. It sits on my desk at work and every morning I boot up my computer and turn on my frame. Like most things that are there all the time it's mostly background after a year; like the pictures on my bookshelves and the framed certificates on my wall, I don't spend a whole lot of time just looking at it. But, every once in a while, I happen to glance over at it and am struck by the image on the screen. And every once in a while I am just felled by one and have to leave my office and go outside to the little smoking patio in the back and talk to the lab cats and collect myself. Like this one, of Britt crabbing on Kilkenny Creek. This one gets me every time.

1 comment:

Katharine Weber said...

Of course it does. She is so alive in that picture, so present, a glimpse of her skin baking in the hot sun, her sligfhtly sulky expression, all of it. She lives and breathes in that fleeting, still summer moment.