Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘avatar’ Category

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Amanda Palmer concert with a neighbor. He kept worrying that he would be the oldest person there – a concern that never occurred to me, although I am several years older than him. The truth is, working in tech makes me more comfortable with younger people than those my own age, who often seem stodgily suspicious of anything new. However, changing my main online photo tonight forces me to confront the fact that I’m aging, just like everyone else.

Few people, I suspect, can look at their own picture without feeling uncomfortable. Part of the reason is that most people’s self-image is always several years behind their actual age. Another reason is that all of us are most familiar with our mirror images, which of course are reversed. For both these reasons, a picture never looks quite right. The most we can hope for is that any given picture doesn’t make us squirm too much. Personally, I prefer to play the coward, allowing pictures of myself at only long intervals.

Anyway (I always grumble), people take far too many pictures of themselves, thanks to digital cameras. Keep your life undocumented, and at least you can busy yourself with living it. Spending all your time recording is more meta – and more trouble – than I care to for.

Still, I’ve been aware for a couple of years now that my picture needed updating. One of my regular publishers offered to pay for an update, and even that wasn’t enough for me to brave the ordeal of picture-taking. Then I thought I’d wait until I recovered from last year’s knee injury and had some faint whimper of fitness. Eventually, I just put if off, putting off the moment of truth like Kipling’s Queen Elizabeth psyching herself to look into her looking glass.

But today I felt braver than usual. I finally had a neighbor snap a dozen shots against the nearest neutral background. It wasn’t the best time to do so: I’d been several hours out in the sum, so my face was red and blotched. My ears looked as though I had folded them up and used them as a makeshift pillow the previous night. My eyebrows were so pale that most of them were invisible, and the angle of my head makes me look like I have a double-chin and shows that I could do with a shave.

As for the wrinkled neck and piggy eyes, please don’t get me started. I could go on and on – but I see I already have.

Yet, as uncomfortable as the picture makes me, I couldn’t mistake those escaped hairs dangling in the middle of my forehead. But at least my hairline was no higher than in my last picture, and I’ve finally aged enough that my face gives an illusion of character. To me, anyway, I look guarded, maybe politely skeptical. Either seems an improvement over the terminally gormless look of most of the pictures through my life.

I still have no idea how representative the picture is. But, all in all, I could do worse. Before I could change my mind, I updated all my online profiles. I now propose to forget what I look like for another few years, remaining blissfully ignorance of how I am changing and averting my eyes from even the vaguest possibility of a reflection that might confront me with the truth.

Read Full Post »