Something you can't Script

A mother and daughter enter the restaurant followed by two young girls unknown to them.    
The girls are friends. Mother and daughter are seated by the waitress at the far end of the long sushi train. The two girls are then seated across from them in an ample booth. One girl wears a red scarf, the other has purple tints to the ends of her hair. 


    (Take out their phones and begin to photograph all edible objects) 


(Wrinkles her nose) 

I’ve never been here before. It smells funny.


(With a laugh)

Me neither. I want to try something really weird. 

(picks up deep fried prawn) 

The daughter watches on as the girls in front of her draw faces at each other with every passing meal. A look of amusement crosses her face as Purple Hair delves into her pocket once more and begins snapping her food. Her chopsticks fall to the floor, and the daughter stifles a laugh as Red Scarf says…


(With a laugh)

You’re so dumb! 

(uses knife to cute scollop in half) 


(serious expression) 

I can’t believe people really eat this. Like….it’s so weird. How do the Japanese do it? 


(With a raised eyebrow)

Either way I feel so cultured right now. Now I don't have to travel anywhere!

The daughter leans in slightly to see if she heard correctly. When the two girls continue to pick at the tuna and rice in front of them, she gives up on listening, and thanks her mother for accompanying her to the restaurant. 


The above scene, though trivial as it may come across, did actually happen. And though what I described doesn't seem as impactful as perhaps it was when it happened, it really got me thinking about where our minds are headed in this day and age. 

Though maybe the comments the girls were making are not so rare (as sad as that is to think) what puzzled me more was the constant photo taking. 

Now don't get me wrong I love a good #foodporn snap (gourmet sliders am I right?) but taking a photo was literally the first thing these girls did. The waitress was in the middle of asking them if they would like a beverage when they didn't take the time to answer. More, they steadied their hands to take a photo before mildly stating they would like ice tea. 

And somewhere between my raw salmon and their spring rolls, it dawned on me that perhaps right now we are more concerned with sharing rather than experiencing. 

Take a concert for example. A few years ago I was lucky enough to bear witness to one of my favourite bands of all time. And by “my favourite” I mean to the point that I cried when they came on stage. But what I did was that I took some photos and a few videos at the very start of the show, and then I set my camera down…

And just watched. 

Because I can watch live videos of that band every day. I can listen to their music on demand, at any time I want, wherever I want. But being in the same room as them, sharing a space, feeling that connected energy between them and everyone else including me, that’s something that I couldn’t record. So why bother? 

That’s a pretty extreme example to a plate of sushi but the principle (I hope) is still the same. 

Instead of trying to capture and hold every waking moment, why don't we wake up and live in the moment. 

Purple Hair should have tried something weird if she really wanted to, and saved the photos for later. Red Scarf should have noticed the hurt look on the waitress’s face when she didn't make eye contact upon being seated, instead of picking a filter. 

Like my first year university lecturer once told me: “A photograph always points away from itself.” So once it’s taken, be sure to notice the moment; not just the image.