Saturday, July 18, 2009

pets and pixels

I came home and remembered the menagerie of animals at my parents house. Missy, who is black and white with extra toes, I got for Christmas when I was 9, a month before Dennis was born. Her full name is Mistletoe. She got knocked up the following summer and had two and half kittens in September, the same epic day that the Nissan broke down after church and my parents surrendered their dignity and bought their first minivan. We kept the two boy kittens and named them Spike and Einstein. The half-one we buried with our old cat Heather under the birdfeeder in the side yard. Spike and Einstein became huge giant gray-striped monster cats who drool when you pet them. Credo, the brown and white rat terrier, I won in a 9th grade essay contest whose topic was "Why is learning important?" Cisco, the dainty long-haired reincarnation of Heather, unexpectedly jumped into my fathers car after work in a downtown parking lot. Kringle, the calico short hair, showed up on the back porch one Chirstmas, frozen and hungry. She got knocked up in the spring and had 5 kittens in June. Credo picked one up and accidentally killed it. We kept the orange and named it Chumley.

I spoke to a guy in Boulder about why I'm interested in other peoples photographs. He told me he was afraid of people looking through his photographs and judging him after he dies because mostly of his pictures passed away the winter before. I told him that I find pet pictures especially interesting because the fantasy of owning a pet in a photograph is more accessible for a stranger than the fantasy of having different family members. He told me he thought it was sad that photographs get stripped of their meaning when strangers look at them and I told him that I was under the impression that photographs only multiply with meaning as more people see them. He told me he loves his digital camera because he can control the pictures more and I told him that I thought it seemed like it would hurt to love something that you can't hold in your hand.

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