When I came home one evening, I found this old camera on a leather case on top of the dresser. I understood that it was from my dad, since he has the habit of bringing home any kind of old and outdated equipment he can lay his hands on. While he is an intelligent and educated man, he has also been brought up during a time of scarcity and stringiness, so he always has a soft spot in his heart for any VHS player, Sony Walkman, portable analogue TV, and 1.2 megapixel cameras with Japanese and Korean instructions.
Normally, I dread to put a foot inside the apartment, knowing that there will be something waiting on top of the dresser, so that I can pronounce it useable, sellable, or throwable. I have become quite the whiz in identifying strangely shaped object through Google (Ave Google). However, this camera was different. It had weight in my hand. The leather was shiny and wrinkled with use and it had a very enticing and manly smell.
It was a big Cannon with film that screamed instant sex appeal. I mean I would have slept with the camera-holder in a heartbeat. Weell…I was actually going to sleep with him in my dreams. I had the right portrait too: tall and scruffy with outdoor muscles and a tanned face and neck, his hair dark peppered with gray and curling at the ears because he did not have time to get a haircut before rushing from his African photography trip into my arms.
-Don’t get too cozy with it. – my mother took me out of my wet dream – Your dad has already promised it to your brother-in-law. And your cousin. And your other cousin’s husband. He keeps on showing it to everyone, promising to everyone, then changing his mind and holding it for himself.
-But it is so beautiful. – I protested. – I want it too.
-It is for a man. – my mother said. -Too big for your hands. Besides you will never use it.
She was right of course and I smothered my petulant protest and refrained from pointing to my mother that the camera was indeed so outdated, none of the men would be able to use it either. But I could see why they would desire it so much.
A snifter of cognac, a cuban cigar and the old Cannon in its sexy case should appear on every macho commercial for cologne, cowboy boots, aftershave and who knows what else. I mean it could sell everything and its mother without ever being taken from the case. If Quasimodo ever had it resting on top of his bureau, Esmeralda would have jumped him in a trice.
Just then, my brother-in-law came inside with my blue-eyed nephew in his arms. As the little cherub giggled at her she grabbed the camera and thrust it in his hands.
-Take it- she said – before he promises it to yet another person. A
And then she took the bouncing baby and kissed its cheek, while my brother-in-law cradled the camera and went home happy. I waved goodbye to both and went back to my Mac to drown my sorrow.