Lori Clinch

Are We There Yet?

Digital photos: Just as easy as brain surgery Ever since my parents bought me my very own Polaroid camera back in 1972, I’ve been a shutter-bug. I’ve been known to capture breathtaking images, to reflect life with still photos, and to swing down from a tree during a family reunion to film an awkward moment.

So when my husband bought me a digital camera this past Christmas, I was elated. “Just think,” I told him as I snapped a picture of him shaving, “I’ll be able to take photos of every noteworthy event in our lives.”

Then my good friend Trixie, who is remodeling her kitchen, called and asked if I could e-mail her a picture of our new countertops. Although I was new to the digital world and had never e-mailed a picture, I thought that this would certainly be a good time to learn.

First I took some pictures of the kitchen and added in the dog, the kids and an up-close shot of my thumb for human interest. I then snapped a photo of a bowl of fruit, another of a child eating a doughnut, and just when I thought I had outdone myself, I caught a still-life snapshot of a sink full of dishes.

After I read the instructions for “How to e-mail your pictures in five minutes or less,” I found that one needs a USB port to plug a digital camera into a computer. And since our main computer is from the 8-track era, extra USB ports are hard to come by.

I went on a quest to locate the family laptop, and in doing so, used up 18 minutes of my precious life. I then cleared a spot in my son’s bed (three minutes) and hitched up the camera into a much-coveted and empty USB port (two minutes).

Upon finding out that it takes the better part of one’s golden years to upload 292 photos onto one’s laptop, I decided that now would be as good a time as any to delete unwanted photos. I erased a picture of my foot, a close-up of our son’s ear, and 38 pictures of the dog.

After waiting for the camera to load the rest of the pictures onto the computer (8.5 minutes), I’ll be danged if the laptop didn’t go off-line. So I played with the little antenna that connects the laptop to the Internet (another 10 minutes), called the laptop a “stinking piece of garbage” (less than 20 seconds), and stomped back upstairs.

With great irritation, I promptly unplugged something from a USB port on the main computer (three minutes if you count the wiggle time it takes to maneuver oneself behind the desk and through the basketballs and dirty socks to get to the back of the computer), and plugged in the camera. While I was elated to find my best earring and was rewarded with one stale Oreo, I hoped I’d never have to return there.

I assumed the camera was plugged in because the computer made a cute little sound that was reminiscent of a doorbell, and the computer screen had a darling little camera icon that said, “You have a camera plugged in and I recognize this device.” (Not an exact quote.)

“Dang right you do,” I said out loud (exact quote), and as I prepared to load the pictures onto the computer, the camera icon disappeared. Try though I may (8.5 minutes), the icon did not reappear. I climbed back under the desk, through the basketballs and around the dirty socks and unplugged the cord from the USB port, plugged it back in, and although the computer made that cute darn sound that was reminiscent of a doorbell, I returned to my chair and looked at the screen to see that there was no camera icon to be found.

I then tried many things on the computer- including going to the “Start Menu,” to “My Computer,” “My external devices,” and my “I know there’s a dang camera on here because it rang the gosh darned doorbell!”

Not one to be easily dissuaded, I climbed back under the desk to unplug and reinsert the camera’s cable into the USB port, then climbed back into the office chair and was elated when the computer finally said that it did, in fact, recognize that there was a camera hooked up somewhere and could now prepare itself to load some pictures.

I uploaded the pictures (10 minutes), saved them under the name “Stinking Kitchen Countertops,” and told the computer that I’d like to e-mail them to one Trixie Oddwall.

Could the computer send the e-mail? Oh, shoot no! Why? Because the port that I’d freed up and plugged the camera into was none other than the port that housed the stinking wireless Internet.

I’m totally going back to my Polaroid.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her at www.loriclinch.com.