How I look at the world

I dropped my phone in early March, causing its rear camera to lose the ability to focus. I tried to make light of it on social media, but blurry photos are only amusing for so long. Yet still I dragged my feet. I had the cost to think about; the device was just past its warranty, and with almost a year left on my contract I was left with replacing or repairing it.

Then the world got more complicated and I retreated to my bedroom and slept through most of the month of April. I remember sitting on my balcony and watching people go by, wondering how they could walk around so easily when I felt like I was gearing up for battle just to go to the grocery store? Why would I want to pull my phone out of my pocket after I had washed my hands and stepped outside?

An orange kite string which connects a tin can at my apartment to one at my neighbourfriend’s, across and down the street. Blurry. Like April felt.

I think it’s safe to say we’re all still dealing with the mental adjustment to whatever our present hellscape is. Summer has brought an air of normalcy, and for the first time I have to stop myself in my thoughts and remember, “Oh right, that’s not a safe-for-pandemic activity.” As I’ve been getting out and going on more walks, I’ve missed the opportunity to take pictures.

I immediately questioned whether this thought was unhealthy and indicative of an overdependence on social media. Was I missing the pictures, or the likes on instagram? As I looked into the prices and procedures of a repair, a bigger question took over: could I possibly bear to be without a phone for three hours?

Rays of sunlight from beyond fluffy clouds. Imagine how lovely this would look in focus.

At home? No problem! There’s my laptop and wifi, there’s Final Fantasy XIV, and my cats almost always want cuddles and attention. The place I looked into was downtown, and going there and back would be annoying (or exhausting if I bixi’d the whole time). I could bring a couple of books and find somewhere outdoors to chill for a bit, I could hand my phone to a stranger and be without it for 180 entire minutes, I could wear a watch so I know what time it is without consulting the screen in my pocket.

It was a lot less nerve-wracking than I expected. I journaled, I had lunch with a cute conversationalist, and I finished reading a book. (Not the book we’re discussing tomorrow at book club, I hadn’t even started reading that one. Oops.) $150 and three hours later, I walked home to Ville-Émard from downtown, taking pictures all the way.

It felt like a part of me woke up, a part that I hadn’t even realized had gone to sleep. I stopped taking pictures, so I stopped looking at my surroundings the same way. Instead of a treasure trove of vantage points, my world became drab and lifeless. I missed being able to capture moments from a walk, or even seeing somewhere I could stand and wondering what the view would be like from that position.

In addition to having lost a form of creative expression, I also now have an incomplete visual record of the season. I go back in my gallery and look at photos when I am writing a story, to help set the mood or put myself in the right frame of mind. Sometimes I check details like weather: even if I am the only one paying attention to whether it rained on some date in the past, I want to get it right. It’s my kind of geekery.

Now that I’m able to take pictures whose details are actually discernable, I plan to roam the city and find as many interesting views as I can. For now, I leave you with one final study in blue.

I love the way the LEDs in this fountain’s basin light up the leaves above.

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