No, I didn’t have a near-death experience. I went to the Apple Store to solve a long-standing problem of getting all my digital photos from the last eight years on my computer. My guy was a pro at this and as he uncovered files deeply buried on an external hard drive and downloaded them to i-Photo, they flashed before my eyes in the process. Some 5,000 photos with a “Where’s Waldo?” theme. Spot the American in the photo with Orff teachers from Iceland, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Estonia, South Africa, India, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, Canada and there, there and everywhere around the U.S. Spot the son, the husband, the father, the grandfather, the friend, the colleague. See a bit of what he saw— the flowers, the mountains, the sea, the streets, the houses, the neighborhoods, the churches, the temples, the Christs, the Buddhas, the musicians, the dancers, the Festivals. It was all flashing before me in a glorious panoply of the life I’ve lived since I bought a digital camera in 2006.
While I was waiting, I had my helper try to guess my work from the slides he was seeing. With a few hints from me, he arrived at traveler, teacher, musician. Fun! Fun silly game, fun that he guessed and fun that I’ve had the good fortune to live out and seamlessly combine those three identities. And a few more as well.
Seeing them all at the rate of four or five photos per second made me think of it as the modern hyper-slide show. No time to sit and ponder each image, just the combined effect of remembering your experience at high-speed, each photo releasing a hit of recognition and some hormone in the emotional system, but without the time to savor. Just as they say will happen in an accident— your life flashing before your eyes. With an extra bonus:
You get to close the computer and keep on living it!