Brother Tobias reminded me today how my relationship with my first digital camera had gone astray, entering deep waters, suffering the dire consequences and inevitably going kapoet as it spewed out a last flash.
Driving through a deep dip on the farm on the back of a 4x4 bakkie, I lost my grip on this tiny piece of modern equipment. It hacked through the sky over a dry landscape of white Karoo vegetation and managed to entrust its fragile contents to the shallow and murky depths of the only small mud puddle in a radius of 10 miles.
Three of us stared at the same spot for seconds – aghast at what we had witnessed. Inevitable chaos followed. Natural behavior that one can expect from traumatized witnesses who had seen an accident / crime scene play itself off right before their very own eyes. So, as if on cue we shouted at the top of our long-athletic lungs at the sheep-cow counting and dung-locust-squashing driver to STOP the bakkie! Poor dad... Freaked out by the sudden howls and noise, he forcibly slammed on the breaks a tad bit too hard. Mom sat tight and deftly caught the flying coffee flask in the nick of time, as it made a bee-dive towards the middle of the front window. The three of us - we managed not to make a fashionable girly nose-dive over the bakkie's bonnet too, frantically holding onto various pieces of bakkie, equipment, a big spare-tyre and each other, then started clambering like pro's over the rails. Like a troop of baboons we hit, with thump each, the dust and dashed for drowning, bubbling and regurgitating camera.
Naturally we tried our best to revive and pull the filthy retrieved square mud-clot back to life. It was done by proper CPR such as blowing life into the insides, taking out vital parts of polluted intestines, carefully rinsing, cleaning and drying it to avoid sepsis (something close to contamination), stitching it back up, peering at it closely, doing a little brain surgery too as the memory seemed to have evaporated into the thin dry air. All our efforts, standing in a circle around it, seemed to be in vain. It seemed to have done more than fused, but seized to exist completely.
It had entered the Dark Chambers and life-after of the proverbial ‘technically departed’.
Put out by this little drama, we then placed the remains of my camera on the bakkie’s dashboard, where it lay in tragically scattered pieces drying out in the dust and white-hot sun. Occasionally the memory (card) or sliding door bumped off onto the floor during the drive through the veldt, only to be carefully picked up by Mom, and put back under the rays of the sun.
And this is where things really started getting exciting and back on track again. A small but significant miracle happened when much later that very same evening, the deceased piece of modern equipment decided to do a comeback. It tried really hard with the odd flickering here and a confused sign of returning life there...sighing, sulking, spluttering and a strange alarming noise with some stuttering. A bit dustily rusty already.
A sign of the times that we live in, surely, that nothing is remotely impossible anymore. My mud-beaten brave little camera gradually regained its strength and wit and nearly full recovery of its memory. It resumed doing what it was made to do - taking photos. It even seemed to get better by the day and finally took the most brightly lit photographs – complete with dots of scattered darting shooting mud stars that had permanently made their way into the panoramic view. Charming, really.
Bad news is that my ressused mud-bathed-camera sadly eventually departed after a short life entrusted to rusty misery; it decided upon euthanasia followed by cremation. It now rests in little pictures still floating around the globe...