A few years ago, my Mom gave me a snapshot of her and my Dad that I’d never seen. It looks like it was about 1971 or so — well before Dad got sick — and they’re in somebody’s kitchen. I’m not sure whose. Dad’s sitting at the kitchen table, smoking a Winston and drinking a very bright red can of Coke. My Mom is standing next to him, leaning on him, laughing, and hugging his neck. She’s wearing yellow shorts and a small, metal-banded wristwatch, and she looks deliriously happy.
It’s just a snapshot, and I’m so happy I have it.
I’m starting to wonder if you have to have a kid to fully understand the appeal of the Flip. I don’t really think that’s the case, but being a new-ish parent really highlights why this dumb little piece-of-shit video camera is such a game-changer.
Say what you will about the (numerous) technical limitations of the Flip, but, in terms of catching the small, trivial stuff that ends up comprising the connective tissue of memories, it’s the real deal. 90% of the gold I get with the Flip would never have seemed “important enough” to shoot with my $1k HD camera — plus who carries a softball-sized video camera everywhere they go?
This thing paid for itself the day I turned it on and shot one evening of Eleanor’s bath-to-bedtime ritual, but I still never stop marveling at the little moments I end up capturing while just horsing around.
I don’t really think you have to be a parent to get the Flip, but watching your kid change and grow even over the space of the cumulative one hour of shooting in the camera’s memory tells an important story: all that stupid little stuff that’s not worth pulling “the good camera” out for is what it’s all about. That’s the stuff you’ll pray you had captured more of when you had the chance. I can already feel it, looking back at that bath and thinking, “Wow, I wish I’d shot hours of this.”
Every can of Coke, every funny hat — every minute where I might accidentally catch my little family being deliriously happy — man, that’s the stuff.