One of the best things I heard all holiday was from a young man at Boots in Stanstead airport.
So I was grabbing a few pharmaceutical and make-uppy bits before our flight, and impatiently waiting for the till, and hoping that no one would hold up the queue but no, of course, it is forever my luck, the man just in front of me had a few important questions about his purchase. Id have guessed him to be about 25, if it didnt make me sad to think of someone of 25 being this clueless.
Hed picked up a disposable cardboard camera. You know the kind, they cost less than a fiver, can be used once and once alone, come in a foil packet, you get them at weddings sometimes, have to be wound on by hand, sometimes have a flash which you very rarely remember to use and, when youre done you have 24 or 36 prints or whatever. Hed picked this up, I had seen him looking at the packet, and then he took it to the till, waited his turn and asked:
Is this video capable?
The man behind the till just stared at him, weighing up the question.
Its just a camera. he said.
Yeah said Master Clueless But will it do video? Or does it just do pictures?
Oh my son, my son, I wanted to say. Not only does it not do video, but theres no viewing screen, no auto-focus, no anti-red eye, no way of plugging it into your computer or connecting wirelessly to facebook. And whats more: when it has taken a small amount of pictures – hardly any, really – youre going to have to carry it down to a shop, pay another amount of money, and then wait some matter of DAYS perhaps before you get to see the pictures.
I almost felt tempted to tell him this, since I couldnt possibly follow him around and see it with my own eyes but no, I decided: why spoil the surprise? Its just going to be too, too beautiful when it does come.