I should have listened to myself, but I didn’t.
With the prospect of saving a few seconds, I didn’t delay in answering the prompt about whether I really wanted to delete all the images on the camera. After all, I had copied them to a file, which was right there on the screen.
I hesitated for just a moment. Only once since the day film became obsolete had I lost the photos I'd taken. It was a mistake I wasn’t going to repeat. At least that was the vow I made to myself. In that case I realized the mistake as soon as I had made it. I had failed to copy the file whatsoever.
That mishap came to mind when the prompt flashed and oddly I wondered why. Since that first slip sending images never to be captured again into cyberspace, I made a practice of only deleting photos after I had a proof sheet with scores of thumbnail shots.
Why wait, I thought. I could speed up the process and get out of the office that much sooner on Sunday afternoon.
Computers have conspired against me lately.
There’s justification for my paranoia, although I realize it’s a stretch to say the machines have chosen to show me they’re in control. What gets me is that they tell us what to do. There was a time when I could turn on my laptop, browse the internet to catch up on what was happening in the rest of the world and write a story without being interrupted.
That’s next to impossible now. It’s as if the cyber world is waiting for me. As soon as I turn to the Internet, up pop ads from outlets I had used to make online Christmas purchases. Worst of all I’m offered huge discounts that make me feel like a sucker for buying in the first place. Then come the reminders from Facebook and update notices when you’re in the middle of a document.
“Can’t you let me finish a sentence?” I feel like yelling at the machine.
Of course, I don’t do that. It would just serve to validate the notion that computers really do run things. Instead, I dutifully follow the prompts, fearful that if I don’t the screen will be wiped clean and all my work will disappear.
That happened two weeks ago, even though I faithfully followed instructions. The machine went into self-directed mode – a little rotating circle telling me it was thinking. I should have known better. It was plotting against me. When it finally came back to life, there was no sign of my document. It had evaporated.
Infuriated I started all over again. I came close to committing computer abuse, but then I would have been the one to pay.
Words are one thing; images are another. Images can’t be reconstructed.
As soon as I opened the file of saved images, I realized out of the more than 220 shots I’d taken, only about half were there.
Gone were photos from the Rotary Club May breakfast at Kent Hospital with Carol Batty and Helen Tavares serving scrambled eggs and hash browns, Mayor Scott Avedisian wearing a Warwick Police T-shirt and cap chatting with Deb and Bill Quirk and Linda Oliver and club president Donna Caccia and breakfast coordinator Tom Sanford handing over a $1,000 donation to Sue Barbour who runs KEEP (Kent Employees Emergency Program) at the hospital.
Into cyberspace, too, was the photo of 9-year old Mike Moreira of St. Peter School, looking remarkably relaxed, after finishing the 5-K Pan-Mass Challenge at John Brown Francis School ahead of most of the field of runners. Hopefully Erin Taylor and other event organizers have shots to share of the event to raise funds for research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Lost, too, were a lot of fun photos from the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Run for the Roses at the Warwick Country Club. I wish I could share those. Four horses greeted guests arriving at the fundraiser. Among the best images was Deb Ferrante holding her wine glass just beyond the outstretched neck of an inquisitive horse and Ewa Dzwierzynski with a red-feathered hat. What plumage. I also recorded center director Judith Earle in an elegant all-back outfit and the gathering of more than 130 cheering on the horses as they watched Justify win on a rain-soaked track at Churchill Downs.
Words can’t describe it. You just have to imagine it.
But words can express my frustration for not following that inner voice. Next time, I’ll listen and follow intuition instead of the computer prompt.