NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, October 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Next up, WORLD commentator Kim Henderson on what a photo can really capture.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: So I’m on the line with reservations when the rep throws it out there, plain and clear.
The phone is squeezed between my neck and my ear, and I’m trying to write down the confirmation number—hoping I don’t hit the “end” button—when I hear her say it again.
I almost laugh at the thought, as if you can ever really get away from cars that need new front-end struts and laundry hampers that keep filling up and kids who forget to turn off the oven.
I decide I rather like the idea of it. The sound of it. Getaway weekend. I latch onto it—like a Titanic survivor to a life raft.
A month and three reservation changes later, we have gotten away to New Orleans at last, and the Mississippi is lit up and we’re taking it in over snow crab and steak. There’s a band playing outside and they’re wearing toboggans—not to be cool, but because it is cold. I find it’s rather easy to forget about front-end struts in such a setting. The kids, not so much.
That’s because even while I’m pulling the precious white stuff from a crab leg I get a text from one. My husband does, too. Getting away, it seems, may be elusive. As elusive as fame will be for those toboggan-wearing musicians trying to pull off calypso in 40 degree-weather.
But my husband eventually decides there is a more positive use for his phone. He snaps a photo of us smiling over our entrees, which leads to an important discussion: What exactly do you call a selfie when it includes your better half? An ussie? There should be a term for it, especially since “selfie” was named an Oxford Dictionaries’ “Word of the Year” a while back.
I swipe his phone screen for a closer look and am struck by the changes I see in both of us. Perhaps I will call that reservations clerk and let her know that it’s actually the days—the years—that take the real getaways.
Looking over at my husband, I realize the important changes can’t be captured in megapixels. He’s wearing decades of picking up milk from the grocery and kids from piano and pieces of our lives from occasional eruptions.
I like how it looks on him.
We decide after a few trolley rides that getaways are good. We’re smiling. Holding hands. Planning a next time. I can almost forget about the stack of ironing waiting back home.
But nothing puts an end to a getaway like hauling luggage through your front door. I’m trashing travel brochures when our youngest asks about the dinner photo on Dad’s phone. She’s more interested in that one than our sixth-floor view of Canal Street.
“Sweet,” I hear her say.
So that’s what you call a couple shot. Sweet. Probably won’t be the next word of the year, but that’s okay. I’ll take the sweet shared over a selfie any time.
I’m Kim Henderson.