A few months ago my pal Rebekah was kind enough to send me a few tiny, spiral-bound art books from Chicago called Memory is Not Enough. They are collections of photographs made with 2005-era drug phones, very much like the model that I own (the LG2000, which some cell phone camera connoisseurs have dubbed the “Leica M4 of mid-fi cell phone cameras”) (that link goes nowhere because I made that quote up).
This morning, I was rushing to catch the bus at Bloomington and Lake, and passed another snowbank that had an empty, dry Little Caesar’s pizza box resting on top of it, very much like Mt. Hoettenreiddie. I didn’t really have time to stop, since I could hear the bus approaching from behind me and I was still a hundred yards from the stop, but I stopped anyway to take a quick shot.
Of course, when I hit the button with the tiny camera embossed on it, the screen flashed this message: “MEMORY IS NOT ENOUGH.”
Damn it! The LG2000 may be the Leica M4 of mid-fi cell phone cameras, but it only holds about 10 images at a time. I couldn’t spare the time to go in and erase one, so I had to stuff the phone back in my pocket and run to catch the bus, leaving Hoettenreidie’s sister peak uncaptured.
Sitting on the bus and thinking about the lost opportunity, I thought then about the poignance of that phrase, “memory is not enough.” I understood why the publishers of Rebekah’s book had chosen it. Memory isn’t enough. Memory is never enough. That’s why you have been unable to go to a party in the past six or seven years without cameras flying out of people’s bags and photos of you ending up on Facebook the next day with your hair looking all crazy and from a not-very-flattering angle. I have certain friends I feel a great deal of anxiety going out with, because I know the whole evening is going to end up documented no matter how awful I look. If it didn’t happen on camera, it’s like it never happened!
So you’ll just have to trust that I passed Hoettenreidie’s sister peak today on the way to the bus, at Bloomington and Lake, without the benefit of photographic documentation. Drawing on memory, I have depicted it below on paper with pen. I will call it Mt. Geringhoettenreidie, which is mangled fake Germano-European for “Little Hoettenreidie” (unless any of our German-speaking readers rule otherwise).
In this instance, the presence of the pizza box is less surprising, since the nearest Little Caesar’s is only nine block away.
Do you think it’s the same party that left the first box, at Dupont and 34th? Was this a set of earlier provisions on their westward journey, consumed in a panic and then abandoned? Frankly, it seems unlikely. But it would be pure hubris to rule it out entirely.