Right before bed is not the best time to have an existential crisis. Or is it the only time to have an existential crisis?
Earlier today, I was in the old souk in the town of Jbeil with my aunt. I wanted to take pictures of the souk in Tripoli, but the narrow passageways, however beautiful and sometimes enchanting, bring one very close to people who don’t always regard you with the most pleasant looks. And from what little Arabic I understand, I can tell that they’re not saying the nicest things about us as we pass. It’s not a place I feel comfortable pointing my camera at strangers.
So as a compromise, I intended to take pictures of the less crowded, less impressive souk in Jbeil, while also getting some last minute Christmas shopping out of the way.
I lifted the camera to my face, and pressed down to snap the first picture. But no familiar click of the shutter. I checked to make sure it was on–it was–and if the battery was low–it wasn’t. Then I saw it–a flashing memo on the screen. NO MEMORY CARD INSERTED.
It all flashed back to me in an instant. A few nights earlier, after a trip to some ancient ruins with my uncle, we went into Tripoli to see a movie. It’s not usually a place I feel safe bringing my camera, especially not at night, but we didn’t have time to drop our stuff off at home before the movie. Just incase the camera was stolen, I popped out the memory card and put it in my pants pocket.
The same pants that I saw hanging on the clothesline just before I left the house that morning for Jbeil. I realized then that I had sent all 2000+ pictures I’d taken over the past 3 months through the wash.
Even though I had a back-up SD card in my purse, I was in no mood for pictures. I didn’t even want to shop, and probably hurt my aunt’s feelings with the speed at which I rushed through all our shopping, then insisted I go straight home.
I haven’t tried the card yet. All my Internet research has suggested that my photographs will be just fine as long as I let the card thoroughly dry before trying it in the camera. After realizing that, I’ve relaxed a bit.
But on the ride home with my aunt–silent through almost be entire half hour drive–I realized something rather unpleasant about myself. The real reason I was upset. The incident hurt my pride.
Sure I will be upsetting if I lose all those pictures. But I realize I would have been much less upset if I had lost the pictures had someone mugged me for my camera. At least then it wouldn’t have been because of my own carelessness. I wouldn’t have to tell people, over and over, that the reason I don’t have a single picture from my 3 month stay is because of my own stupidity.
What I didn’t like was having to come to terms with the fact that I’m the kind of person that makes mistakes like this. In other words–I don’t like being reminded that I’m human.
Realizing this, I also realized that come tomorrow, if it turns out my photographs were not destroyed, than it will be easy to completely forget about this revelation of mine–that everyone makes mistakes, and I am no exception. So I decided I simply had to write about it, in case my wishes are realized and I still have all those photos. I need this to be a lesson I won’t forget.