About fifteen years ago, I spent about nine days in London. I got a Tube Pass, which requires you to get a little ID card to go with the Pass, just in case you are stopped by the Tube Police. I think Tube Passes are one of the reasons why London is (or at least was) simply littered with photo-booths. Certainly, it seemed you could find a photo-booth in just about any Tube Station. Anyway, the photo-booths had gone all digital since I had last entered one (in 1990 – oy. I am old). It used to be, you got in, you paid your money, you looked like a dork for approximately 30 seconds, you got a four photo assortment of said dorkishness for your Pound Sterling.
With the new digiboxes, you went in, you sat, it took a digiphoto, you checked it out, assessed whether or not it was good enough to make four of, and go on with the process. (They used to take four different shots. Now they only give you four copies of the one shot – it must be hell for those kids who made collages of themselves and their friends all making dorky idiots of themselves in four different ways per trip to the photo booth). Then, a teddibly, teddibly uppah-claaahhs English woman’s voice says, “When you are happy, press the green button.”
I found myself wondering, “Happy? What does happy have to do with it? If I’m feeling slightly blue or mildly irritated, do I have to sit here until I eventually get happy? What do the clinically depressed do? Never get a photo? Are they forced to get daily return fares whenever they take the Tube? What is the matter with this country? If I am never happy again do I now live in this photo booth? What is its address, anyway?”
I suppose it is appropriate that my Tube pass ID bears a photo of me smirking.