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April 3, 2013: Death of Photoshop

No ideas but in Things
—William Carlos Williams

I decided to give up on learning Photoshop for now. There are three weeks of class left. A tough call, I don’t give up on anything, especially if I harbor any hope of understanding it. I had presumed that there might be one or several ahh haa moments, but last night I realized that this isn’t going to happen in the next month.

This wasn’t without some forethought. But forethought finally led to action. Last night I got to class early. A few others were already there. The classroom setup is not at all conducive to learning. Half sit on one side of the room and the other half sit on the other. Tables separate us from one another. I went to my seat. I said hello to the instructor, but he didn’t

look up from his computer. Pete wasn’t there yet. I sat and waited for him. Others trickled in, and began conversing with one another and with the instructor about Photoshop particulars. I wanted to join in on the conversation but could not. This was because I felt as though I knew nothing, nothing at all. Words can’t describe what I knew because I didn’t have the words: Just images. Words also connect us to others. I began feeling very disconnected.

Pete arrived. Class began. I glanced out the window. It was hazy. The instructor had put an image of a swimmer up on the screen. This meant that we were to follow suit. He then said that there were many ways to do things, and that he was going to show us an easy way of making a change in the yellow lane barrier. This involved the use of the rectangular marquee tool. I tried, but could not enlarge the box.

I looked at Pete, who was now doing something else. I had, in less than thirty seconds, fallen five steps behind. I glanced around. All the other students were staring at their screen. None looked confused, apprehensive, or frustrated. It reminded me of the time I took a computer class. The instructor said something about MS-DOS being the fish and the operating system being the water. Or, it was something like that. I looked around. Then, like now, everyone was rapt, focused on what they were doing.

Then I panicked and fled the room. This time, prior to leaving, I had what I can only describe as being a small nervous breakdown. I know it was a small one because it had the earmarks of a larger one. Hard to describe. I felt this overwhelming sense of hopelessness. It was akin to one’s psyche being a house made of cards. And it had just toppled over. I could not laugh and resume building, though I knew it was important. See? I lack the words to describe. . . .

What I wanted was to be swaddled. So I put my down coat on. You can’t sit in a warm room with a down coat on, otherwise people think you’re nuts. So I got up and left the room. I drove myself home. That I had the foresight to do this is a good sign, for it meant that I’d managed to retain some shred of self-preservation. I can’t drive after dark. Vision’s too poor. It’s too dangerous.

On the way home, I recalled the events of the day. It had been a rather rough one. My sister Eleanor called earlier and said that my mother’s in the hospital. (A long, and soon to be longer story); Pete and I had argued (no longer a story) and I had looked for, but been unable to find the members of the local women’s running group. (End of story for now.) Just a bad, bad, day except for the fact that the horses all did so well when worked with.

I went home, went to bed. Pete left class early and commiserated with me. And he helped me tend to the animals. If he hadn’t done these things, I’d still be drawing upon images of me sitting in that classroom. Instead, I now have happier images, of a very nice evening.

I’ve moved on. I’ve decided to drop the Photoshop class. I’ve been somewhat lost since the very beginning. Best to let sleeping graphics programs lie. I might take another class in the future. If Photoshop, it would have to be “Photoshop for Right Brained People who want to use it for Photographic Purposes.” Or a differing program, that is one that’s exclusively for people wanting to work with their own photographic images. Something simpler, for sure.

Hardship teaches. And I learned something really important this semester. This is related to teaching. I have this theory that I will again teach when I have learned certain important life lessons. Yesterday I learned the most important one of all. This is that good teachers don’t let students slip through the cracks. They instead remain attentive to them and assist them in grasping what it is that they are attempting to teach them. I used to be a gate-keeper, but no more. But this is another story, one that has both words and images.

Next: 94. 4/4/13: Parents