We live in a world obsessed with taking pictures, just to post those pictures instead of living life already. Take for instance this picture of the farewell cake at yesterday’s staff going away party, just one of countless photos taken…and eaten.

The woman who ordered this cake was disappointed that someone decapitated the guest of honor without pausing the party for a photo opp. I happened to capture this tasteless shot with my fickle Huawei, the same one that survived a round in the watching machine.

I would much rather slice into this. No bad karma, just lots of buttercream.

Last week’s graduation was also more photos than speeches. I’m sure that was true at every graduation ceremony of the Class of 2022, AKA Generation Duck Face. The highlight of the ceremony was a video production of the graduates. But no, it didn’t include heartwarming shots of a service trip to a minority village or reading to the blind. It was a montage of each student wearing trendy outfits on white backdrops. Is this graduation or a fashion shoot? If they really want to remember reality, they should’ve posed wearing sweatpants and Kpop band T-shirts.

I didn’t have 36 gigs for photos on my graduation day, just a 36-size roll of Kodak 110 film for my Instamatic. I can still see the pictures, a few obstructed by a finger in the foreground. One was a pizza featuring a “79” made in anchovies; another of my oldest cousin who drove across the state for the heartburn.

Meanwhile, the middle-schoolers are creating a goodbye film (at international schools, middle school is a revolving door, as parents rush these kids away to boarding schools in America). Their film? All words, mostly those emotional ones that get caught in their throat swelling up like a balloon waiting to be popped. This language learner wanted to use one of his vocabulary words with his teacher, the word being addict. But that isn’t how he pronounced it:

“Ms Sins, can you help me use a dick with my teacher?”

I like pictures, but just like with tobacco sauce, in moderation. My favorite place to take photos is at Carrefour, where a Chinese sales price can be translated by my Huawei so I can save a few yuan.

Pictures are important, but not more than the moment they capture, like this rare moment. Someone talking on their phone for a change.

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