In 2019, I went to Vancouver, Canada, to spend some time with family. While there, I went into a funky little store called Urban Source. It’s a great place that has all sorts of odds and ends that might be useful in various creative enterprises, including crafts. They had a bin there of old photos – a random collection of various vintages, from film cameras of the past. I presume they came from some estate sale, garage sale, or something of the sort. Many of them were pictures of people on vacation, or at home with friends, or of scenery, or of buildings that meant something to someone.
They were exactly the sort of photograph that someone might put on their fridge. Which got me to thinking… imagine looking at your fridge and seeing photographs of people you didn’t recognize. Wouldn’t that be weird? And maybe a little disturbing? And perhaps… amusing?
So, I purchased a stack of them.
A short while later, I found myself in a friend’s house in Edmonton, Alberta, staying for a few days. For the sake of convenience, let’s call this friend “John”. One evening, when everyone but me was occupied elsewhere, I snuck one of the photographs onto the side of the fridge. Here it is (with a yellow arrow pointing at it), in situ:
“John” also has a music room in his house, with a little corkboard full of pictures, which meant I just had to sneak one on there, too:
(The one I added is the bottom one, with the bells.)
I like to think that one day, several months later, “John”, or someone else in the family, looked at the fridge, or at the corkboard, and scratched their head and thought, “who is that?” Maybe it was a mystery for weeks in the family. I got quite the chuckle out of imagining their confusion.
Alas, I didn’t really plan what to do next. How would I ever find out what happened? What if they never noticed those pictures? Should I spill the beans to “John”? Or should I stay silent, and hope that someday he would notice?
So here I am, nearly three years later, and there is silence. No word at all from Edmonton about the mysterious photos. Have they not noticed? Or did they notice but just never thought it might have been me? I now realize that to some extent the joke is on me, for they might be living their lives normally, without mystery, and instead I am the one who has had to live with the mystery about the fate of those photos, without closure. Or maybe “John” did notice, and knows it was me, and is amused about the fact that I am living without closure. Ha!
I might note, in ending, that I still have many more photographs from Urban Source. Who knows where they might end up?