A Life Story: A Selfie-Stick Obsession

A selfie of the Hale Family

Backstory: A “life story” is a term that my family used to define a story with no point. It often was told by a small child (mostly my sister Andie) and was accompanied by much eye rolling by the listeners. After retelling a story you held as quite significant, it was often a blow to your ego to be told it was just a “life story,” pertinent to only you and that nobody else really enjoyed listening. I find that most of my blogging could be classified as a “life story,” but I also take pride in being able to look over my ramblings and remember exact feelings. Anyway, this backstory is becoming a life story, so let me just get on with it…

A Life Story About Selfie-Sticks

For those of you who do not live in China (or surrounding areas), you may or may not know the craze that has engulfed the area in which I live. I hate to generalize, but I find in most big Chinese (and other Asian) cities there is a population that never tires of taking pictures of themselves. It can sometimes be quite shameless. People pull out their smart phones and snap pictures of themselves, of flowers, of strangers around them, of themselves with flowers and the strangers around them. It seems to occur at any time of day, week, time of year and area. With this comes opportunities to photo-bomb, which is done quite freely and can be very funny.

I try to philosophize about why people have started to behave this way. I think that it does somewhat reflect upon the nature of this culture, of a day to day focus on self rather than an awareness of others. Riding a bike or walking around the city is a great reminder of this, you will be dodging people who are completely oblivious to the fact that you’re trying to get around them. Sometimes the feeling that your surrounded by so many people, but you still feel very alone is overwhelming.  Maybe people are just enjoying their individuality, showing it and documenting it. I am not much of a philosopher, or a researcher, but it is fascinating to observe.

Since I have been here, and have noticed this trend, I have, in fact, embraced it. I can’t help it! I want to record myself in all the amazing places I go. I want to be in the pictures with my friends and family. I want to look back at all my pictures and see how young and beautiful I used to be (ahem, or the opposite). But I have even taken it a step further, as some of my surrounding Chinese friends have.

I want a selfie-stick.

This urge was so strong that I even asked my husband to help me get one. He politely obliged my obsession for asking around for where to get one, and even trying to buy one in Macau while we were there. Since we were unsuccessful, I took it upon myself as a mission to get one.

So while I was chaperoning a school MUN trip to Nanjing, I made it happen. We visited some markets and with the help of my co-worker, we bargained and each got one for 25 RMB (about $4) a piece. I immediately started snapping pictures of myself, myself and students, myself and students and random strangers who photo-bombed us. It was pure pleasure. And the best part is nobody judges you for pulling out your 8 foot long selfie stick (also known as a mono-pod) and snapping a pic of yourself because everybody else is doing it. In fact, I had it out for recordings for a school project last week and one of my students looked at it and exclaimed, “We have matching selfie-sticks!”

I can’t wait to start this craze in the States. Just you wait USA, just you wait.

IMG_5898On a side note, it is also quite useful for spying around corners, making recordings that are not wobbly and as a para-scope.

Thanks for listening to this life story, Nanjing was a beautiful city, we had fun wandering around it even if it was frigid and I couldn’t feel my feet. But I will always remember it for the moment I procured my selfie-stick.IMG_6333

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