As sensible, rational adults, I’m sure we all agree that looking at somebody else’s holiday pictures is basically torture.
Unfortunately holiday slide nights, like taxes and jury duty, are an unavoidable part of the social contract that prevents us from becoming barbarians or, at the very least, people who talk during the movie.
We are duty bound to celebrate our friends’ return from the wilds of New Zealand by grimly viewing a pictorial presentation longer than Lord of the Rings.
Until 2010, we could at least take solace in the fact these endurance events were confined to people’s lounge rooms.
You could mentally prepare yourself, maybe even plan a drinking game where you took a shot each time the host insists on using the local pronunciation of Tuscany, despite her broad Australian accent.
But now, the increasing ubiquity of tablet computers means you are never safe from an ambush of photos.
There you are chatting with friends in a cafe when suddenly someone realises “Oh, you haven’t seen the photos of our trip to Paris”.
The iPad is drawn with gunslinger speed and before you can escape, you are being shown pictures of the “delightful little bistro in Montmartre where we met this hilarious Russian immigrant. What was his name dear? No, not him, the other one. You know, the one with the long name and breath that smelled like diesel fumes. Anyway, he took us to this art gallery and you wouldn’t believe the size of his . . .” until you are saved by either a flat battery or the sweet release of death.
Forget the Geneva Convention, there needs to be rules about this sort of aggressive reminiscing.
And it’s no just the holiday snaps you have to worry about. Technology has also increased the horror of the slide night’s workplace equivalent, the baby photo.
Before we only had to be shown the single picture the annoyingly proud father could fit in his wallet. A quick glance, possibly a comment on who’s got whose nose and then you would both go back to watching Youtube videos on company time.
Now, thanks to the seemingly limitless memory of the smart phone we have to endure a reverse chronological order photo essay starting at Christmas and ending with ” . . . and this is him crowning”.
In 19th century England a group of craftsmen called Luddites smashed the textile machinery in order to preserve their jobs and way of life. Authorities had a dim view of their actions and a number of Luddites were transported to the prison colony of New South Wales as punishment.
After each marathon viewing of Baby’s First Trip to Bali, I too consider taking an axe to peoples’ iPads to preserve my sanity.
The only thing stopping me is the realisation that they could never transport me to a place on earth remote enough to avoid the phrases like “And that is the end of our first week. In our second week we travelled . . .”