The State of Things

A couple weeks ago, we were driving along a two-lane highway in the Wild West (taking in the warm air and beautiful rolling hills), when I politely asked Daniel to pull the car over so I could throw up. Turns out, the 6 year old we had spent the previous day with had just gotten over the flu…and he passed it on to me big time. So now, here I was, throwing up on a dirt road in Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming; with my face 2 inches from the ground and the 90 degree wind brushing by me with every car that whirled off the highway. I could just barely feel Daniel’s hand on my back, and turned to find him looking at me, very worried: “Im so sorry that you’re not feeling well,” he said, sincerely. “Do you mind if I put this on Facebook?

And the worst part — I didn’t mind. Granted, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when I signed off on that. But this is where Daniel and I are currently residing: Where even those personal, “special” moments can be broadcast to any number of interested individuals. Where our photo album from any specific day wouldnt be complete without a picture of Daniel tweeting…in front of the grand canyon, out in the middle of a farm, on a crowded street, at a museum, at a restaurant. We are never without a camera in hand, and our thumbs steadily poised over the “send” button.

It takes some getting used to. I still feel awkward arriving at someone’s house with the cameras already rolling so that the moment we first meet is fully captured.  I still feel uncomfortable saying our sincere goodbyes through a glass lens.  But capturing everything is our job…and we dont want to miss a single special moment.

A couple days ago, we tearfully said goodbye to an incredible family of ten who had welcomed us in — offered up their beds, their food, even their batteries. When our car got a flat tire an hour outside of their town (before we ever met in person), they offered to come pick us up. I was very touched by this family and it wasn’t easy to get back in the car after two days and drive away. It’s interesting — there is a real sense of closeness that we experience with the people in our stories — it’s an intimate, immediate warmth and entry into their world. And I leave feeling like a little bit of my heart is still with them. So, it’s strange to always be filming, and it’s puzzling that despite the camera we can still reach that level of friendship. These individuals open up and tell the stories of their lives, their families and their struggles. And it’s hard to ignore that Im constantly adjusting the sound on the large piece of equipment in my hand with the red blinking light and protruding wires. The camera sometimes feels like a burden; like the elephant in the room keeping us from just being real friends with these people —  sitting and talking about life. But at the same time, I realize that without this camera, I probably wouldnt have been able to meet them at all.