MiNzMs in the Photo Booth
I’m not referring to the OS X app here, or some fancy iPhone program that takes old-timey crappy photos, but an actual real-live physical photobooth.
This is a ritual that is on the way out. If you’ve never experienced it, I highly recommend it. Your grandchildren probably won’t even know what you’re talking about.
You sit down on the tiny bench. It’s too small for two, or really even for one, so you have to crowd together.
You pull the curtain shut. There’s an illusion of privacy, but you both know it’s fleeting, and incomplete, like holding hands on a carnival ride somewhere in the middle of puberty.
For a brief moment, there is a discussion. You must coordinate, because taking the same picture 4 times would seem somehow wasteful and inartistic. Nevertheless, you know you’ll screw up whatever plans you make, and that it’ll be ok.
You put the money in the little slot, and look into the seemingly endless black abyss in front of you, immediately forgetting what poses you’d agreed to do.
And then it’s done.
Upon exiting, there’s a several-minute wait for the pictures to come out of the slot, sticky and stinking of chemicals; delicate and toxic.
And you’re left, not with a high definition jpg or raw file, but a tiny slip of paper, imperfect and unique, a shared memory squeezed into 4 improbably wonderful slices.
An artifact to be treasured, and there’s only one.