Wednesday, March 14, 2018

due kodak momenti

Technology's a funny thing. You want just enough of it to make things comfortable, and just little enough of it to make things challenging.
I moved not to carry a smartphone with me on this trip to Rome, because, well, if I did it five years ago without a smartphone, why should I need one now? Also, I have zero plans to leave the city, so we'll just do some old-fashion map-following, I figured.

The only snag is how to take pictures. First of all, picture-taking was not optional, since I had to take pictures of myself for grant-report purposes. Second of all, I realized I wanted to take photos. The urge to take pictures is not one I feel often, but as I walked out of the Lateran underneath a gentle pink sunset, I wished for something to capture the moment. Third of all: I could put myself at the mercy of my fellow-travelers with iPhones but I am generally always making myself dependent upon the Uber-wielding, GPS-equipped, data-plan-carrying members of any travel group, and I wanted to find a solution on my own. Because the blood of prairie homesteaders flows through my veins, and they would roll over in their graves like tumbleweeds on Texas interstates to think that their pansy descendent couldn't figure out how to take a single darn photograph in Rome all on her lonesome.

Thus, I was left with one option (there were many other options, but I am but one woman, with limited time and limited energy, so I decided I would only pursue one option, as focusing my limited energies meant a higher chance of success in that one mission): to find a disposable Kodak camera. Remember disposable Kodak cameras? I think I used one last in 2003. Nevertheless, the thought that maybe I wouldn't find a single store carrying them never crossed my mind. One of my fellow choir members had used one back on choir tour here in 2012, so his luddite witness from six years ago convinced me that my plan was not only feasible, it was possible.

I stepped into corner store after corner store, browsing through grocery stores and in those strange knick-knack and plastic doo-dad stores. I stopped into chintzy tourist shops. I peeped into a Farmacia briefly. No dice. And certainly no cameras. A photography store right across from the Lateran opened its doors as I walked by. Surely that was a sign? I stopped inside. Scusa, signore, I stammered. Hai una camera Kodak disposable?

Nailed it.

The confused store proprietor did not have una camera Kodak disposable and he mostly didn't understand what the hell I was saying. Apparently his Italian is not advanced enough to understand "camera Kodak disposable" a rare gem of a phrase originating deep in Canto XXVI of the Purgatorio. Just as Shakespeare was out here in Britain teaching us all to bid good riddance to wild goose chases when we have seen better days, Dante was coining lots of modern Italian, too.

I turned tail, turned back to DuoLingo to brush up my Italian comprehensibility, and, like a villain from J.R.R. Tolkien: waited and watched.

Finally, on a sunny walk, I passed an unassuming store that featured not one but two i cameri Kodak disposabile in the window! I went inside and purchased two forthwith.

And I laughed, as I snapped a picture of the Colosseum in the shadow and a street sign in the sun, feeling just as I did as a kid in Colonial Williamsburg.

Providence means that whatever choice we make will be blessed. By something. Providence does not mean that there is a plan, providence just means there is a way. And the way is somewhat meant. We make the meaning, offer it up, and it is blest.

How funny that what we have been looking for can come out to meet us so easily. And in such superabundance.

Whatever way we choose can become blessed. With not one, but two cameras.

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