I think I am genetically incapable of enjoying having my picture taken. My grandma famously threw away most photos of herself, and I am very successful in almost never letting any get taken in the first place. Occasionally, like yesterday, it's unavoidable, and when it is, I behave so immaturely and ridiculously that you'd think I had two heads, or a permanent clown nose, or I don't even know what. My sister says that after a certain age she thinks your house starts to say much more about you than your own appearance does. I totally believe this, though my house is currently a total disaster, but that's a pretty accurate reflection, actually, because I am pretty stressed out this week. I mean month.
I had to take my own picture yesterday and I learned so much about myself, it was really great. Like, I probably wouldn't have known, had I not taken four hundred pictures of myself, that, on top of my many other problems, I have the frizzies, a lazy eye, and now apparently am growing a fricking beard. GRATE. These are two of the only pictures that I liked, and they actually don't look anything like me, so that fits in with my plan rather nicely. I call the above my "I'm gonna git you" look.
This is my coquettish, "I'm pretending to flirt with someone in the second balcony when really I'm in a messy room alone with a self-timer-set camera two feet from my face." Ah, photo shoots. What we don't see! Must get that remote shutter snapper. I had to get up every single time and reset the timer. I must have walked two miles total, back and forth. On second thought, I hopefully won't have to take any more pictures of myself for another ten years or so, so why bother. When Andy got home last night I showed him the pictures and he said, "Jeez, how many times did you change your clothes?" I think five. When I went back upstairs at the end of the day, there were clothes all over the bedroom. So silly.
I wish my grandma hadn't thrown away her pictures. I guess my dad was really upset with her for doing that. It's weird how a picture of someone eventually becomes so, I don't know, accurate, somehow, and so . . . not exactly. It's like Click! A fraction of a second, and there you are. Ish. But I'm always so grateful, years later, that I have them, those split-seconds on paper. Now on screen, I guess. Should really print stuff out more.
Andy's grandparents made this videotape of old movies of the grandchildren at every Christmas and birthday. And throughout the years in every one of them, no matter whose birthday or what Christmas, there is tiny Andy Paulson, hopping straight up and down. I get teary every time I see it, and even just thinking about it now. Waiting to open presents, Andy's hopping up and down. In the background while his cousin opens presents, Andy hopping up and down. Getting ready to see what kind of pop will be served, Andy hopping up and down. Someone else's new toy train, Andy off in the distance, hopping up and down. It's seconds, maybe minutes at the most, of footage — and yet is says everything about him now, to me, probably to anyone who knows him. The kid's excitement about anything, just pinging straight out the bottoms of his feet, lifting him right off the ground, those happy little arcs of joy.
One time at another party a few years ago, we had a house full of people. When my sister arrived, she'd brought some pictures from Easter. I was looking through them, and I saw this person who just looked so, so awful. I can't describe it but it was bad. I was thinking, "Jeez, who is that?" and in the same split-second I realized it was me, screamed at the top of my lungs, grabbed the picture, ran into the bathroom, slammed the door so hard I can't even tell you, and then a huge framed picture (not of me) fell off the wall and crashed into a million pieces in the hallway (loud). That pretty much brought the party to a screeching halt — no one had any idea what was going on. Except my sister who says she knew exactly what I had, in horror, just realized — that that was really me. Oh man, we laughed so, so hard. I was just doubled over laughing in the bathroom and she was in the hall, laughing just as hard, trying to get me to come out. But I had decided to never come out again. You will never see that picture, trust me.