FOREIGN FACEBOOK CORRESPONDENT (out in the field) Bye John Watts

For this particular snowstorm, whose name I have not yet learned of, I decided to play it smart.  I hunkered down and ate lots of food.  I watched lots of TV reruns and channel surfed so often, that I had hundreds of scenes all running together and blurring in my mind.

And more than anything, I decided to stay anonymous.  For most of the morning that is.  I let all the snow fall—without asking any of it to pose for my camera–knowing with full certainty that an official snow day would be declared by the county and I would be given a day off.  I slept in and purposely let other face book competitors get the first JUMP on the news–dazzling with all those appropriated SNOW storm videos shared across the country—full of puppies playing in the snow and the perfunctory pile up of inches on the patio furniture.  What was the use in competing?  With all the nifty PHOTO SHOP created special effects of snowmen and ice sickles and even more daunting—the Martha Stewart type craft work consisting of chiseled castles and fortresses—I had nothing to offer in this age of “internet as talent/reality show.”

In other words, the kind of Facebook release that was in an elite class by itself and deserved thousands of LIKES.  Everyone knows all those viral sensation photos, the kinds that are too artistic and clever to ever hope to match; even with a democratic apparatus like the internet.  Home repairs, coupled with puppies, coupled with babies coupled with homemade cooking recipes with the steam curling up just right!

But for now I wanted the world to know that I was older and therefore didn’t need or crave the attention of releasing my official version of how I perceived this snow fall.  I was going to savor the weather and my surroundings for myself.

So I did.  For the first 10 minutes or so.  My dog and I were content to commune with the elements and lose our thoughts in the woods.

But at some point I started to get my first irresistible stirrings to grab my cell phone and call a family member.  So I reached into my coat pocket and noticed, much to my chagrin; that it would not turn on.  The screen stayed black.  Even though I charged it overnight—apparently it didn’t take.

So I switched to plan B and tried to remember what Thoreau would do.  So I slowed my brain down and my thoughts disappeared with all the creeping, scratching sounds of nature around me.

And I was fine with this until I approached the old wooden bridge that joined the 2 hiking trails together below Sycamore Street.

You had to be there!  Oh my heavens!  The winter wonderland that awaited me at the old wooden bridge on this particular creek, was beyond anything that I had seen conveyed to me or anyone else ever!  The sun was sparkling through the snow so brilliantly that I almost needed shades.  Apparently I had stumbled upon the best angle between the sun, the snowflake’s position on the snow and the location of my eye.  The glitter I was treated to from the sun reflected by different snowflakes, was surely the first of its kind EVER—dating from as far back as Adam and Eve!

Combine that with the snow frosting that trimmed the bannisters of the wooden bridge and it was surely the greatest SNOW landscape picture ever.  Without needing to add a single thing, within my reach, the kind of snow-scape scene that exceeded Currier and Ives, B. Buckley Moss, and had even more twinkle and luminescence than Thomas Kincade rolled into one!

The snow glowed like pure gold and its feathered textures reminded me of powdered sugar dripping down a funnel cone!  And to top it off, a whole grouping of bright red male cardinals hopped around over the snow to make the color schemes complete!

Forget this Thoreau thing of writing and thinking for myself.  I had to get this published.  Even the man himself must have known that Walden’s Pond’s serenity was purposely endured for the final culmination of public consummation!  I mean if a bridge glitters with snow and no one else but me ever sees it, is it really that remarkable?

But I had to act quickly.  I pleaded with the red cardinals to remain exactly where they were.

I felt in my coat pockets for a pens or pencils but felt none.  I flicked at my cell phone, like a caveman trying to scratch a fire into igniting, but to no avail still.

So how could I get this image published on Facebook in time to compete with today’s releases?

By running of course.  I looked up out of the woods and up to Sycamore Street and saw the last corner townhouse.

I noticed a lady walking out to get her morning newspaper.  So I charged up the trail, with my dog panting behind me, until I was in hailing distance.

“Please Madam, I have found the greatest snow scenery ever, down by that little wooden bridge and wondered if you had a cell phone so I could run back down and take its picture?”  As I was out of breath, it took me a  bit longer to spit the previous line out coherently.

The lady, though plainly startled, agreed to part with her pink cell phone.  She showed me how to use it.

So I trudged down with my dog until I found just the exact same angle with the sun and the bridge and the snow and me.  CLICK and CLICK again went the ladies pink camera.

God and the entire universe seemed on my side.  The same red cardinals never moved a feather.

It was perfect.  I would be lionized on Facebook for my contributions to modern culture.

Now was the tricky part.  I ran back up the hill to the ladies corner townhouse.  “Madam, I wonder if you wouldn’t mind allowing me and my dog into your home so that I could email your cell phone photo to my computer at home and type in a suitable caption for publication purposes.”

The lady, understandably was very doubtful about this particular favor.  She pondered and pondered, until finally agreeing, with this little reminder—“please try to do it quickly as my husband will be home soon and it may look bad that I allowed you both in.”

Perhaps she did it because she felt more at ease with my dog being there as this told her that I was a spiritual, and therefore, trustworthy, person.  Perhaps she sensed that I had a BIG FOLLOWING on Facebook and therefore  it was crucial that I get this photo transmitted.

Inside her house I wasted no time.  Unfortunately we couldn’t seem to download my photos to my email address on her cell phone so she said she would send it to her home computer.  Very carefully I bent over her as she sat at her office chair, continually trying to OPEN up my photos on her email system from her cell phone.  Apparently there was some glitch between my Gmail and her Outlook Express system.  At one point, it looked like it was transmitted successfully.

While she was doing this, eager to add on my own captions for the pictures, I impulsively asked the plainly flustered housewife if I could use her cell phone again to RELAY my words over to my wife so that she could copy them down for an eventual Facebook text.

So now she allowed me to use her pink cell phone—who would have thought—to place a phone call.  So I dialed and got my wife on the other end.  Quickly she followed my directions and got a paper and pen out to copy my live feed over the ladies cell phone.  I made sure to use the old news correspondent way of speaking for the sake of clarity:  In this momentous journalistic instance, I felt at ONE with other infamous events in world history—I was witnessing the Hindenburg’s tragic arrival in Lakehurst New Jersey.  I was the first man to see Lindbergh land his plane in Paris.  I was there at the Versailles Peace Accords to end World War 1.

I was witness to it all.  And now I was miraculously, without even my own phone or camera, still transmitting this BIG news flash to my loyal viewers.

Here was my text said to my wife:  “Just saw the most extraordinary snowfall at the old Bridge by Sycamore Street.”  STOP.  (read that back to me honey). 

“The wind howls, chill and damp, winter’s frost now tinged with the beginnings of the promise of spring. The sun is dazzling, but the distant city lights reflect upon their torn surface, at war with the deep charcoal and blue of the skies..  STOP.   (read that again to me honey)

  “A wintry cloak of precious stones embedded in white velvet. Rubies, diamonds, Sapphires, garnets, peridots, and amethists.  The reflected light of the sun looked like multi colored sprinkles over vanilla ice cream.”  STOP. (read that back once more dear!)

The last thing I told my wife on the phone was-“yeah just get that ready for publication.  The photos are coming soon.  I will see you after visiting this housewife!”

That completed, I handed the phone over to the lady whose house we were using and thanked her.

But she was still having problems getting my photos to show up on her computer.  Once more I hovered nearby and told her my secret password and USER name.  And she told me hers.  Intently we stared at the computer screen and waited for my photos to come through and attach themselves.  How could I send the photos to my FACEBOOK PAGE if I didn’t first get it off of her cell phone and over to her computer?

Why couldn’t all these devices be on the same page?

At that very moment, you could have heard a pig drop, for suddenly a man charged towards us with wild eyes and flared nostrils.  Apparently her husband had come in the door and overheard us in the midst of the most comprising situation imaginable for strangers to engage in—exchanging secret passwords with each other.

My dog growled at the man but was in the wrong house for feeling indignant so soon gave that up.  We were both kicked out of the house as some furniture was upset in the process, along with the next door neighbors, who were concerned enough to call the police.  Long story short–the kindly housewife never did get photos uploaded from her camera.  And I never got to post them on Facebook.

The only consolation in all this was the drama of being taken down to headquarters in the police car for disturbing the peace in another mans house.  My wife later came down to the station to vouch for me and say that I was in fact a very important foreign Facebook correspondent and was just trying to get a story out on time.  As we were leaving, the police agreed to pose for selfies with me and my wife which made that evenings Facebook edition.

I got over 15 LIKES for my trouble and used the new police station picture to boost my PROFILE PICTURE!


About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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