Because pg 4 8-9-18

Not too long ago, I had an opportunity to get rather ‘up close and personal’ with HUNDREDS of strangers from all over the world.
NO, I was not temporarily posted on border control at the airport!  Rather, I was just a volunteer at a Rotary International Convention and my assignment (for four straight hours!) was to take photos at a rather landmark spot in the convention hall.
This assignment was actually a simple task: take a photo of the next person or group in the queue.  
Gone are the days where I would, as the photographer, have my own camera at the ready.  Today, we use our cell phones for photos and if we can’t take our own photos with extended arms or sticks, we simply ask someone else to.
In the relatively minuscule amount of time cell phones have been a Thing for humanity, they have had a profound impact; forever changing not only the way we communicate but the way in which we connect with others.  
Walk down a street or corridor ANYWHERE in the world where there are lots of people and notice how many of them are looking down.  It’s A LOT.  People are, to put it matter-of-factly, attached to their cell phone and if I am being completely honest, I am no exception.  Our cell phones hold our most intimate and personal data history.   It is quite interesting, then, that our most coveted possession is so freely handed off to a stranger just so we can capture a digital memory.  On this particular day and time, I was that stranger.  
Most of the phones I received were already in the photo mode, with the white button visible and waiting to be ever so slightly pressed upon my perfect positioning of the subjects.  Some, however, were not.  Some phones were still tucked away in bags, needing immediate retrieval lest this action hold up the waiting people even longer.  Some phones locked up after what seemed like five seconds of idle activity.  Some phones were tiny or not set up for the proper photo setting and so I took a video or wide angle shot.  Some phones were in abundance.  These were the ones that made me giggle the most because in today's’ world of INSTANT sharing, it is not necessary for a group that consists of a husband, wife, daughter and son to hand over FOUR cameras to take the same picture.  But they did.
Even though the manner in which the people freely handed over their phones was somewhat careless, I was quite careful with these prized possessions.  I did not smudge my finger prints all over their screens.  I did not drop any — although I almost did but I caught it just before it landed on the floor.  I also did my best to try and take a beautiful and personal picture for each and every person or group, trying hard not to cut out or off any “parts”.
I also noticed that once I was holding their cell phone, we immediately connected and shared an instant familiarity, so much so that they listened to my direction in where and how they should pose for their picture.  
As my long shift was winding down, it became clear that not only was I bonding with the posing strangers, I was bonding with my fellow volunteers, and it was soon decided that we needed a commemorative photo of the experience.  As we gathered as a group in front of the landmark we had been so carefully photographing, I promptly removed my own cell phone, tucked neatly in my back pocket, and quite carelessly, handed it to the Chosen Stranger.  Say Cheese!
Kathy Naumann, possessor of NATURALLY curly hair and the understanding that you can’t control everything!


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