Indulge me for a moment while I focus on the selfie stick.
The selfie stick is one of those items that are at the same time dreadfully touristy and incredibly useful. The benefits are obvious – not all friendly tourists will take a nice pic of you – and yet we still hesitate to buy one, not wanting to join the throngs wandering about, sticks in the air, heads bobbing about.
Our friend Ruth has a selfie stick; she brought it with her on our trip to Italy.
Our friend Ruth is an intelligent, funny and capable woman, however mastering the selfie stick seems to be a skill that has totally bypassed her. And nothing – nothing – on this trip to Italy has made us laugh so hard, so loud, so tears streaming down our face shrieking, as Ruth taking our photo using the selfie stick.
We don’t get it out much because it takes a short discussion on appropriateness and importance of the proposed site followed by around 45 minutes of assembly. In fact until today we’d only used it three times: for a photo at the Roman forum with Ruth’s head chopped off, a photo at the Spanish Steps without the Spanish Steps in it and a photo of our black shapeless head silhouettes in front of some blurry backlit columns somewhere in Rome.
The thing is, I really don’t know how it always goes so wrong what with all of the instructions the rest of us provide for Ruth to follow. Particularly Tim. Because wives love it when their husbands shout a string of conflicting instructions at them. Take this morning when we went for our fourth attempt with the selfie stick on a cute little canal bridge in Venice. After the assembly process, Ruth lifted the stick, and it was on.
“Tilt it back!”
“Straighten it up!”
“Lift it higher!”
“Move your head!”
“You move your head!”
“The other sideways!”
“Wait, I need my sunglasses!”
“Don’s not in!”
“I said straighten it up!”
“Tim’s too tall!”
“I can’t hold this pose much longer!”
“Tilt it 80 degrees left!”
“Sure, let me get my protractor out!”
“Wait, I’ll take my hat off.”
“I can’t find the button!”
“It’s on the bottom!”
“It’s on the side!”
And so we have added to our collection a photo on a Venice bridge, three smiling faces and Don sliced perfectly down the middle.