I just got back from Minnesota, where I spent the weekend seeing family and going to the State Fair. It was a pretty lovely weekend. I love the Twin Cities. That area is so beautiful and so cute, so a particular strand of Americanness that I find really charming.
I am sort of in a bad mood right now and am frustrated. I had taken a bunch of pictures this weekend on my digital camera. Riding the bus home from the airport, bored, I took the camera out to look at the beautiful pictures I had taken. A quick Memory Card Error notice flashed across the screen and then it said “No Images.” I am guessing that the camera got beat up in my luggage and that somehow erased all the pictures, but this wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have to check a small backpack just because I bring shaving cream somewhere (fuck you, government manufactured terrorist scares!). I was so excited to share these pictures with you. I don’t have the energy to put into words these images, and perhaps that’s a problem—that I have invested too much into these pictures, that these pictures, by taking them, I had allowed to serve as stand-ins, place-holders for memories. Had I not taken any pictures, I wouldn’t have been sad at about the loss of them, or sad about the imagined loss of memories, but here I am, quite down about the loss of this one particular picture of my family – my mom, her husband, my sister, my grandmother, and my little cousin – in the pig barn at the State Fair all in paper pig ears.
Other things I would show you were I able to:
-a picture of my mom in pig ears looking very serious (another amazing photo)
-my grandmother eating a corndog
-pictures of all the gigantic, prize-winning produce (biggest pea, biggest potato, biggest pumpkin, biggest squash, etc.)
-pictures of me eating fried cheese curds
-pictures taken this morning of my sister trying to block me from taking photos of her as she reassembled this chair, embarrassed, that she had broken by sitting on
And then I had also documented all the amazing _____ on a stick products at the fair, and had about twenty different amazing products all photographed – the signs advertising these things: Puff Daddy on a stick, Mac and Cheese on a stick, Pizza on a stick, Walleye on a stick, Casserole on a stick, Spaghetti and Meatballs on a stick, Coffee on a stick, Eggs and Meatballs on a stick, etc.
I was so excited about the _________ on a stick photo series and so excited to show them to everyone. Oh well. I am seeing lots of meaning in this, that perhaps this is punishment for taking a photo of my sister when she didn’t want one taken, perhaps this should serve as warning not to rely on new technologies, that I should have used real film, and perhaps that I shouldn’t privilege photography at all, that these memories I have (somewhere) are more crisp, more powerful when there is no photo, that my memory tends to slack if it knows that there is a photo of the event and it need not store it also.
I ate in a malt shop, sat by Lake Harriet, looked at old houses that belonged to old relatives and old friends of my mom, went to church, ate so much yummy, cheese heavy food, drank lots of Leinie’s beer, and none of these were documented with my digital camera and so I feel like none of these were lost. It was a really lovely trip, heavy on the nostalgia, but sometimes, often times, that is okay, a good thing even.