Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Character Encounters: Renn's Pictures
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I wander aimlessly, carelessly glancing at the various cameras and camcorders displayed on the shelves. Shopping is dull. And that's the truth.
Brightly colored tags catch my eye as I walk past, just as they are designed to do, but I do not satisfy them with the glory of gaining my attention for more than the secluded space of two seconds. If they had voices as loud as their paper wardrobes, the tags would be screaming at me.
"Sale! Sale! Save money! Reduced price! Limited time only!"
But I walk on. I'm horrible when it comes to shopping because I have a deaf ear to hearing the screaming tags. In fact, I have a deaf ear and a blind eye to just about everything related to shopping.
A deaf ear and a blind ear metaphorically. Physically, I fear I'm not so fortunate.
Princess Gadrienne of Findenland is the last person I expected to see here, in a twenty-first century store, but she's in front of me, and she's not happy.
I suddenly wish the metaphorical ear could be physical. I know why Renn is here, and I really don't feel the urge to explain all of my writing thoughts and plans to her.
"What is going on?"
I think playing dumb is the best way to go, considering who I'm talking to. "What do you mean?"
She glares at me as if she's about to release her rant, a rant that I know she would have practiced for an hour beforehand, choosing the most vivid adjectives and verbs that she could with an exaggerated emphasis on the use of adverbs. But before she speaks, her eyes flit downward and draw together in disgust. In a moment, her rant disappears only to be replaced by a single question:
"What are you wearing?"
I'll admit it. I didn't expect her to say that. "A jean skirt and a polo shirt."
"A very famous and loved fabric."
Renn snorts. "In what world?"
"Mine." I return evenly.
She looks around, as if suddenly seeing the store around her, realizing the mountainous landscape of Findenland is far away. "What's that?"
I follow the direction of her perfectly balanced and fairly pale finger. "A camera."
Her eyes swing back to me in confusion. "A what?"
"A camera. It takes pictures."
"Pictures?" Gadrienne's eyebrows fly upward.
That only accentuates her confusion.
I sigh. I'm not a huge fan of technology, nor am I the best person with whom to consult about cameras and the like, but I give her my best description of digital devices and how a small box with buttons can capture the images placed before it and save them so that they may later be viewed and printed on paper. I'm not sure how well she understood it all, but by the time I finish bumbling out the explanation, she is completely smitten with the idea of a camera.
"Take my picture!" She demands.
While I'm glad that she's forgotten her rant, I'm not entirely satisfied to the topic with which it's been replaced. "Your picture? I can't do that! These cameras are all boxed up. They are not mine to open up and use."
"Why not? You are a writer."
"Writers do not hold the same status in the real world as they do in the world they create."
"What's that?" Gadrienne darts past me, not even hearing my words. Helpless to stop her whether by physical force or oral commands, I follow.
"Excuse me, ma'am." A store employee with her blonde hair pulled tightly back into a ponytail steps in front of me and holds out a flyer. "If you have the time, I'd love to tell you about the newest craze in photography."
"Oh, no, I..." I'm about to decline the invitation to stand and listen to something I don't understand, but behind her is a large camera set upon a tripod facing a decorated screen in front of which is Renn who is smiling happily.
While I'm staring at Renn, the blonde employee gives me a well-coordinated description of a something-or-other camera, with who-knows-whats-it focus and too-unbelievable-to-remember-it settings. Before I know it, the girl has finished her lecture and is leading me to the green screen. "Wouldn't you love to have your picture taken with this wonderful camera? I can take a dozen shots right now for you. And if you want them printed, I can do that for you for a limited time price, with a coupon to purchase your own camera at a discount when they hit the market next month."
Renn grabs my arm and pulls me in front of the camera. Twelve snaps of white lightning blind me momentarily while Renn giggles like a little girl at my side, posing with her arms up and down and her face screwed into every kind of smile possible.
And then we're back with the employee to see the shots that she just took. Renn laughs over each one, commenting on how beautiful she looks, and dropping dry remarks about how oblivious I seem.
"Can I get these printed for you?" The employee presses. "I can give you them for five dollars a photo, unless you want them all for the lower price of fifty dollars."
"Oh, I want all of them!" Gadrienne announces.
"Very well." The girl grins at me, and spins on her heel to place the order.
Fifty dollars? I don't think I even have fifty cents in my pocket right now.
"No, wait!" I run after her. She disappears around the corner of a shelf, deaf to my cries. By the time I gain the corner and get around it, the girl is gone. I stop dead in my tracks. My brain is a foggy mess, and without any coherent thought, I turn back to Renn. She's gone, too. The screen and camera and tripod are also MIA.
I imagined all of that?
I slap myself mentally and think about following it with the physical action. But there's a customer looking oddly at me, so I give them a big grin, tuck my hands into the pockets of my skirt, and walk away.
At least I don't have to pay fifty bucks for twelve pictures.