I have never been more envious of anybody than when my gorgeous cousin recently asked “what’s a selfie stick?” Though I suppose I should not have been too surprised that the ridiculous emblem of self absorption had not permeated the farthest corners of verte-provence in country France, I was none-the-less envious.
Stick-wielding, and often stick-waving, self absorbed tourists had just recently ruined my first and long awaited visit to Florence, had annoyed me to distraction in Venice and really pissed me off in Berlin. Don’t get me wrong I love a good photo. In fact my bride is a demon for a tourist photo, for which I am eternally grateful (once I have gone through them all and deleted the ones I do not like, that I am in i.e. all of the photos I am in, or at the very least photoshopped myself out of them.)
Though the selfie sticks are almost exclusively the domain of the young traveller, they are even more dangerous and annoying in the hands of the older generation as they waive them around causing a comical reverse Mexican waive as people duck to avoid being hit by a phone on the end of a rotating wand.
Have we truly arrived at a place and time in history that requires us to take a photo of us smiling in front of everything we pass? Throughout my recent, first and much anticipated visit to Europe, barely a bridge, statue, river, mountain, building, causeway, shop, car, bus or mound of litter went by without someone thinking it would make the perfect backdrop for a photo and then raising their wand and twisting their face into a photo smile as they glanced self admiringly into their phone.
Me me me, it has now become all about me. How do I look in front of this, or how happy am I blocking the view of this? and how good did I look standing on that?
If roller blades go down in history as “of their era” then sadly the Selfie stick may be the emblem of 2015. It doesn’t make for a very pretty picture of us.