The photo above was taken on November 26, 2014. The coordinates: 41°24′07″N 74°19′22″W, which if you have a globe, direct you to Goshen, New York.
In “Connect the Colors,” I wrote, “Perception may be the most unique and personal portion of human experience—or it may be the most identical; either way, we do not have a means of testing it, except based on anecdotes from individuals. Perhaps strawberries taste the same for you as they do for me, or they do not.” Perhaps an exception can be made to this perception about perception: the weather.
The weather in this photo: heavy, wet, clumps of snowflakes, cold on the back of one’s neck but the kind that instantly melts on the back of one’s neck and wets one’s scarf and shirt collar so that pulling one’s coat forward for more warmth instead only surprises with more cold wetness. That kind. An insinuating cold wetness or wet coldness. A sticky snow, the sort that covers all surfaces, like every branch on every tree and even street and road signs, which can add a challenge to driving, except the roads are impassable, so why are you driving?
I may think of snowstorms as pretty but annoying because I do not like the cold and I dislike the aftermath of snowstorms—sidewalks that are not shoveled and a degenerative neuromusular disease partner up in unfriendly ways—and you may see them as beautiful invitations from the natural world for outdoors fun, but those are not two different, divergent perceptions, they are two different reactions to the same perception of the grey-on-icy-grey winter world one encounters in upstate New York.
This snowstorm lives on in memory for two reasons: It was photographic, so here it is, and it accumulated about an inch an hour for the day, so it was a good, strong, but not remarkable storm. (Five or six inches total, but in only five or six hours.)
There is a third reason: It is the last photo taken with my last cellphone. A month later, on Christmas Day, the cell decided that life as an object to hold books open while I type sections from them was more appealing to it than life as my phone, objet de texte, Facebook device, camera, morning alarm clock, thing I employ to pretend to be busy when I am merely ignoring those around me. The things we all use cells for. I sent out a Merry Christmas message to a collection of friends and family and I do not know who received the message or who or how many may have responded. It died upon hitting “send.” I grabbed an old cell, restored it to factory settings, had the service provider switch my service to the new/old cell, and I then had a cell with no contact list.
A modern day, first world problem. For the first time in this cellphone era (I have had one since 2001), I have been without a contact list. Until someone calls or sends a text with something identifying them (or I ask for one), I do not know who anyone is. I attempted a first world, modern day, social media solution: I posted a request for help from friends that said something like, “I lost my phone book from my cellphone. If you have my cell number and want to get in touch, please text me so that I have yours again.”
I sent this message out daily through the new year. Not one friend or family member has yet complied with my request. If any of you want my number, email me. (I hear from fellow writers in WordPressWorld more often than some in-person friends, anyway.)
The lesson is a simple one: The old ways were better. They often are. I need a physical phone book, one crammed with business cards and birthday reminders and punctuated with cross-outs as friends move and get new addresses and numbers; I need one of those. And a camera! The camera on my current, old, cell is terrible (but it was great in 2011). Look at that photo my now-dead cell could take. The grays on grays of snow against snow. I miss it. If I lose a cellphone again, I lose my camera! The old ways were better. So now I need a camera, too, separate from my cell. Too many things were connected to that one device. I need everything separate now. The old ways were better, simpler. So: a cell for talking and texting, a phone book, and a camera, all jostling for space in my pocket. Just like in the old days.
The WordPress Daily Prompt for January 20 asks, “What was the last picture you took? Tell us the story behind it. (No story behind the photo? Make one up, or choose the last picture you took that had one.)”
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