Self discovery in a drug store

After work today, I stopped by a local CVS to pick up some photos I had developed.

I don’t shoot film anymore but during the move I discovered three disposable cameras. I shudder at the thought of ever using such awful creations of photography EVER again. The lighting always sucks. Whatever flash built in is mediocre. There is no possibility of a “macro” shot. But I was still curious as to what was on those archaic things. Two of them didn’t have an exploration date — one of them did and it was well past the date of when I decided to have them developed.

I knew what was possibly on them — I knew that at least two of them were from a trip I took about three years ago or so with an ex to San Antonio. The other was a shear mystery. (All of which is why I went to CVS over a better photo shop. Why waste good money?) So given the possible context of the two, I seemed to not think twice about leaving the poor suckers on the passenger seat in my car while I was typing away at work. That was dumb I know but that’s what I did.

So today was the big reveal. I only got about 30 images total that developed. That was either because of my obvious stupid flub about keeping them in the car or the years of neglect in drawers, (possibly a glove box) and cardboard boxes. But alas there they were. Thirty photos of nothing that special: A few pics of me and the ex, some rock formations from the Natural Bridge Caverns in San Antonio and some photos from a birthday party/drag show.

I stood there looking at them after the lady at the counter explained why they didn’t all turn out. I’m used to digital now. The age of film is lost to me. I said my “thank yous” and left the store. When I reached my car I sat a while with those photos in my hands, shuffling them and staring at each strange image. I couldn’t help muttering to myself, “Whose life do these images belong to?”

All the faces in those pictures are no longer who I see. The activities from all of them seem distant memories. Since those photos I’ve made a new life with new people in it. All the while I keep no contact really with anyone in those shots I spent all of $12 and some change to get developed.

I make new memories now. But I’ve been looking back a lot lately of who I was before and who I decided to spend my time with — and still I wonder, who the hell was that?!

6 responses to this post.

  1. Don’t discount the memories and events that brought you to this moment, AJ. Have no regrets either. In the grand scheme of things without getting wholesale spiritual on you, every thing you’ve ever done, said, felt, thought, tasted, heard, smelled…dealt or were dealt brought you to this moment now.

    Look forward to the new memories but embrace the old ones. Make a memory bouquet, then put it in the closet. It’ll be out of site, but never completely out of mind. Nor should it be. Trust me…you’ll revisit it every once in a while and that’ll make you glad you kept it.

    Memories of what was reminds us of where we’ve been. Anticipation of what’s to be keeps our momentum going forward.

    Find your smile, AJ.




  2. What Laurie says is so true.


  3. It’s interesting how we grow without realizing it. The past so often seems like a distant life.

    The funny thing is that you talk about film, but the same sort of thing can be accomplished with digital pics. I was going through my “my pictures” folder the other day, cleaning out some old stuff and ran across a folder that had a bunch of pics taken by my ex wife as well as a bunch of pics of my her and I. I didn’t even remember downloading them and saving them. I must have done it quickly to clear out my memory card with the anticipation of sorting through or archiving them later on. I never got around to it.

    Different times. Different people. Different lives. The past is funny like that. Every day is something new but we hardly even recognize it because we’re too busy living it.


  4. J,
    Just the other day, I had a epiphany of sorts but I didn’t have it at CVS. I had it on the golf course. (I can hear the moan from here) Anyways….our lives are like revolving doors. Whether it is friends, jobs, homes or avocations, everything comes and goes. Some stay. Most don’t. I have been an avid golfer since I was 12 (51 now) and my primary love besides my wife is music. I have 2 good friends left over from high school. I have lived in 10 houses in 20 years. Photos are a great way to chronicle the changes in our life but we cant’ change the change. Nor should we want to. We will make loads of decisions both good and bad over the course of our life but those decisions are enriching.

    Embrace change, embrace the change that makes you you.


  5. Filmaker David Lynch, I recently heard, swore off celluloid for good. He’s all digital from here on out. His reasons are your reasons.

    For whatever that’s worth.


  6. Thanks Anti: David Lynch. Nice to be in that kind of company then.
    I like what everyone has said here about memories being a part of you. I agree but it just feels weird looking at all those photos of a girl who doesn’t really exist anymore. I guess she’s still a part of me, always will be, but it just seemed like someone else’s life.


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