Betty, Herb and Me

As you dudes know, I signed up for a digital photography class through the rec center and then found out it was being held at the senior center. I joked about how it would be hilarious to be in a class full of elderly folks…..turns out it was no joke at all. Aside from “Hillary” (you should know I got there after everyone apparently introduced themselves, so all the following names are made up), who was a late 30s know-it-all type….you know the ones….the ones who have to open their mouths and say something while the instructor is talking….yeah she is that girl. Okay listen…I realize my classroom expectations were a little high for a rec center class, but seriously raise your hand….or at minimum wait for the teacher to finish her thoughts.

Anyway, Hillary was the only one in my “weight class” everyone else was in the 60 to dead category. First off, I had to rush through a belly dancing classroom to get to the room. That was fun. I followed the signs that said “senior center entrance” and then saw the sign on the door that said “photography in room B”. Coolio. I just didn’t realize that the cafeteria/gathering space where said belly dancing class had just begun sat between me and room B. At first I backed out of the door quickly and quietly….there had to be another entrance. I spotted another door and scooted over there – “exit only!” -mother effer……there was only one option……it had to be done. With my head held low and an apologetic look on my face, I walked as fast as I could through the dance class.

And what the fuck did I find on the other side? Another fucking door. You have to be kidding me. Granted this door was only visible from the street-front side of the center and not the parking lot. But eff me. Whatever. I popped into the class as everyone was finishing up their monologues about why they were taking the class… I missed that.

Right away the instructor was like ‘you must be Natalie, tell us how long you have had your camera and what you want to do with it’. I entered into a 5 sentence description as I slipped off my coat and unpacked my obnoxiously red camera…..apparently real photographers only buy black ones. Whatever. I said that I was pretty comfortable with the automatic settings, but wanted to learn how to manually manipulate my camera and sort of get a refresher course from my 8 year-old knowledge from a class I took in college……I looked like such an asshole.

If I had been there early, like Hillary and the retirees, I would have heard about their goals from the class….which after we got started became blatantly clear to me. They had all just bought digital cameras and wanted to learn how to use them… what does the setting with the mountain picture mean….I am a fucking ass. I sat their quietly and patiently as the instructor explained how to find the flash release button and what each of the scene settings were for.

“Herb” was effing adorable. I can tell he and I will be friends. Herb was the only one not sporting a DSLR, so he spent a considerable amount of time talking down about his camera. I wanted to be like ‘Herb, don’t you worry, your camera is just fine!’. Herb was also hard of hearing and asked the instructor to repeat what she said a few times and spell things out. Poor Herb. Now I am no digital photography teacher…obviously…but if I were I might not start out a course by talking about how everyone should think about investing in Photoshop Elements to do their editing. Okay it is pretty darn obvious Herb isn’t going to become some crazy photo editor…..Herb probably has to have his grandkids dial his cell phone for him. His “camera case” consisted of a 50-year-old box that looked like it used to hold 8 tracks (if you have to google “8 track” right now then you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog. Because it means I am a way old lady compared to you). If Herb has a computer, by some stroke of pure chance, he probably uses it to e-mail his kids once a month so they know he is still alive. Anyway Herb is the man.

Betty is an adorable grandmother. She was wearing a pink sweatshirt that was bedazzled with a bear and other shit. But what sweatshirt is complete without the white collared shirt underneath? Betty should be a lesson to us all though. Laying out in the sun may seem like a good idea when you’re 16, but when you’re 60 that damage is going to show back up. At my first quick glance of her I was like ‘Holy fuck, don’t stare! I think she may have been in a fire!’. But upon closer inspection I think that was just long-term sun damage. Scary. She was sweet though and I will probably see if she wants to join a knitting club with me after these photography classes are over.

Bill was my compadre. He was like me, not a whole lot to say, just listen and absorb. As the instructor moved her way about the room we both studied our manuals for more information. I think Bill and I will get along just fine.

The instructor was the effing best guys. So here’s an example of how a photo class in Colorado might be different from your own state: as she was explaining how low-light night shots can be very difficult to keep stable, she started talking about pushing the slide release button. “It is like shooting a gun, you don’t just pull the trigger back abruptly, you ease it back slowly and evenly….same with the release button”. You are all probably mortified, but I looked at her with a new respect I hear ya Mary, good analogy!


7 thoughts on “Betty, Herb and Me

  1. That’s hilarious! I can’t wait to hear how this class goes. Hopefully you’ll get past all the automatic stuff and learn more about aperture and ISO and all that fun stuff! Definitely throw some pics up here for us to see!

  2. I LOVE the gun analogy. Of course, I’m a Southerner, so I guess that goes without saying. But when you said that, I totally pictured my dad teaching me how to shoot a gun for the first time! Love!

  3. Senior citizen photography class, genius! I swear old people are the best ones to learn with, they’re so nice if you accidentally quilt your shirt to your project. Ask QB. But one question – were the senior citizens belly dancing??

    And yeah – I’m in orientation for the new job because they assume that everyone has never been a nurse before – and just like your class, there is a talker. Someone who thinks that their little bits of knowledge are what its going to take for all of us to understand the concepts being presented. Calling it irritating would be like referring to Everest as a little hill.

  4. Pingback: I Do What I Want | pajamasarecomfy

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