As much as all the photo sharing and instagramming and album creating nowadays can get on your nerves, it has some positive side-effects. One of them is, that it has virtually erased the need for a certain social event that has haunted people in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I am talking about the slide projector show evening.
If you had relatives or friends, who for one, thought they were doing interesting things like going on holidays or having babies, and for two, had cameras that transferred pictures to slides, you were in for one of those evenings at least once every three months.
The host and the hostess would serve hors d’oeuvre, if you wanted to use a fancy name, or finger foods, if you could live with a plain one. People would be seated in the living room and of course, drinks would be present.
Then the man of the house would set up the projection surface. Either a white rolling screen, that would cooperate, or not, or a bed sheet, that would be precariously balanced on the entertainment wall with heavy objects. If it was the latter, the creases in the sheet would invariably distort any picture, shown on it.
The lights would be dimmed, slightly. (You still needed enough light to find your bedeviled eggs and your liquor). The projector would be turned on and focused and then the man of the house would stand to show the slides, one by one, clicking them into place with the cord connected remote.
This, in itself, was not so bad. However, not everyone is as good a public speaker as Don Draper. (Seriously, Don! Stop! You’re making poor Harry cry!)
Usually the presenter would show you a slide or two and then relay all his impressions of that particular scene somewhat like this: “That was the day we went on that hike, remember? We met some really nice people there, but the guy with the red beard was strange. But look at the scenery. We could see all the way to the other side. That is rare. Can you see the little castle back there? That is the place we went to three days later. I’m going to show you that as well. Anyway, we hiked for a good three hours and I was really sore the next day.”
To which his wife would add: “That’s because you brought the wrong shoes.”
The husband would then reply: “It doesn’t matter. It was also really cold up there.”
As you might have noticed, this would all be about the same picture. By the third or fourth picture with an in depth description like that, everyone else was willing the remote to click forward telepathically.
Another treat were multitudes of slides depicting the host and hostess in unflattering tourists clothes, because if you travel, you need to be as colorful as you possibly can. The host would tell you about all the important places in the pictures that were behind the hostess, that you could not see just now, but that he assured you were there and would be better to make out in the next slide.
Over time, the projector would give off a comforting warmth, the host would drone on and on, the semidarkness would do its trick and the food and drink would take care of the rest. By slide fifteen the first person was usually asleep.
By slide thirty-six, someone would invariably get up and trip over the remote cable and at slide seventy two the host would wonder how it got so late so quick.
By the end of the evening, several sleepy and drunk people would assure the host and hostes, that this was a very interesting evening indeed and that they should do this again sometime, only next time maybe at their house.
So, while you are checking your friends’ photos and albums, wondering why they post eighty seven pictures of their food, be thankful that you will never, ever have to sit through an evening like this.