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Through a lens, constantly

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Rick Horowitz
December 28, 2010

Baby Rufus is opening his presents—it’s already on Facebook.


Daddy caught him with the gift wrap and the ribbons flying, the perfect holiday picture. First they passed Daddy’s camera around the room—“Good one!” everybody said—and then Mommy put it up on Facebook so the rest of the family could see it.


Baby Rufus is only partway through his holiday haul—there are so many boxes, it’s hard to decide which one to open next. Uncle Quentin is waiting, over in the corner with his super-zoom. So is Aunt Cassie, with a super-zoom that’s even bigger than Uncle Quentin’s.


Uncle Quentin is crouched way off to Baby Rufus’ left. Aunt Cassie is crouched way off to Baby Rufus’ right. Uncle Quentin would have a perfect angle, except for Uncle Ty and his cell-phone camera, and Cousin Chloe, who’s just sitting there. Cousin Chloe doesn’t even have a camera, and she’s sitting there anyway, watching Baby Rufus open his presents, smack in the middle of Uncle Quentin’s sightlines.


(Cousin Chloe is only 3. She doesn’t know any better.)


“Hey, Ty!” Uncle Quentin shouts. “Move over, will ya?”


“Not that way!” Aunt Cassie shouts. “The other way!”

Uncle Ty moves one way, then he moves the other way. Aunt Sarah leans in to reposition Cousin Chloe, while Uncle Jake goes for the combination shot: Cousin Chloe and Baby Rufus, with the gift wrap and the ribbons surrounding both of them. He has to shoot it twice—Cousin Chloe was looking off somewhere the first time. He sends the second one right to Flickr. Aunt Sarah tweets about it, with links.


“Rufus! Over here! Look over here, Rufus!”


That would be Grampa. He’s only got a little point-and-shoot, and he’s never sure he’s got the settings correct, but he’s right in there with the rest of them, snapping away a mile a minute.


“Over here, Rufus! Now, sit still for a second—and smile!”


“He’s a baby!” says Gramma from her perch on the couch. “You really think he’ll sit still just because you ask him to?”


Gramma’s live-blogging the whole thing. She’s got her friends on GrannyNet, and they’re hanging on every word. Later she’ll try to get Baby Rufus on her lap long enough to Skype them and show off a little. For now, though, she’s just listing all the presents, and who gave them, and Baby Rufus’ reaction to each one. She’ll leave it to Aunt Moira to scan in the bar codes and the links to Amazon.com. Aunt Moira is the technical one in the family.


Wilson and Madison—they’re almost like family themselves, they live right next door—stop by with a few more presents for Baby Rufus. Uncle Jake gets some live video of Wilson and Madison giving Baby Rufus the extra presents, while Aunt Cassie gets a great shot of Uncle Jake shooting his live video. And Daddy finishes liking the Facebook comments—we’ve got 11 already!—just in time to Flip some hi-def video of Aunt Cassie shooting Uncle Jake shooting Wilson and Madison.


Then Madison offers to take a big shot of the whole bunch of us on her new DSLR, which turns out to mean seven big shots of the whole bunch of us on her new DSLR until everybody’s smiling and nobody’s blinking and Rufus is looking exactly where they want him to look. Madison e-mails it straight to Mommy, who Diggs it to the world. Talk about a perfect morning!


After lunch, we’re all going out to buy batteries.


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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