A Look at Younger You

Dearest Rachel –

Since I’m insistent on being home when Kris is coming in to clean the house – not to supervise her, mind you (indeed, between eating breakfast, brushing my teeth and doing several loads of laundry as she’s trying to make her way through each room in the house, I worry that I might be getting in her way, which she tries hard to deny), but to make sure she gets paid upon the completion of her duties (I hate having these things outstanding like this; it’s the one thing that annoys me about our landscaper. Then again, if he doesn’t want my money for two or three months, that should be considered his problem).

This means, though, that I need to keep as much out of the way as possible. The upstairs office serves that purpose, more or less, but I’m limited in what I can do there. I hadn’t thought to copy the most recent accounting files from my actual ‘office’ and bring them home with me yesterday, so I can’t exactly do any real work here at home. Meanwhile, my current obsession with AI art requires a more powerful machine than I have at the house to process anything. So, what is there for me to do while I stay out of Kris’ (and Daniel’s) way?

Well, much as I might apologize to you (and maybe Jan, for that matter – when I first got the air fryer, I felt like I was making a confession to tell her about it. I was actually surprised that she approved of what I’d done, and, in fairness, I’ve gotten a lot of use out of the thing since) for spending money frivolously on additional clutter, respectively, I decided to get a scanner for my computer the other day. Part of the reason is more for ongoing business – tax season is upon us, and I don’t want to rely on the folks’ scanner all the time (to say nothing of the fact that their computer is puzzlingly sluggish, despite being newer than mine at the ‘office’) for all the documents I need to compile and forward on to our preparers.

But it also connects to the AI project, as well as something we’d planned on doing – eventually – from the time we got them up here from your parents’. Namely, that of sorting through the many, many photos your folks took and kept, going back for years on end.

I’ll be honest with you, honey; there’s a lot of these that I’m not going to bother with. In fact, I’m not even sure they’re worth keeping. Your parents and their acquaintances are long gone at this point, and even if they’re still around, I’ve no idea who’s in many of these pictures, or how to get them to them to see if they wanted them. On the other hand, it’s not as if I’d be making any more space to speak of in the basement if I were to get rid of them, so I’ll probably just skip over them in this current process.

Besides, it’s you that I’m trying to find photos of these days. Not that I don’t have enough for the computer to process – although, in my opinion, I’ll never have enough photos of you at this point – but there’s something to be said for having a few of a younger version of you. If nothing else, some of the computer’s attempts to depict you have resulted in outputs that make you look more like Charles the Second of Spain than yourself.

Sometimes, even down to the moustache, because apparently, it can’t always tell between shadow and hair.

Most of this is due to the inherent difficulties in trying to ‘draw’ you in a pose or setting that isn’t analogous to any of your actual photographs. It’s one of the reasons I have to include words like ‘deformed’ and ‘mutated’ as negative prompts – literally telling the computer “I don’t want it to look like this,” and even then the computer can’t always grasp what exactly looks ‘deformed’ or ‘mutated’ so as to avoid it. Still, just in case any of this is due to the effects of age (I’m sure you’d also like to make certain that your portraits are light on things like wrinkles and jowls), going through your parents’ photos gets me a sampling of pictures of a much younger you.

Then again, some poses leave you with a surprisingly prominent jawline, even in this picture from 2005, so maybe I’m overcorrecting

Well, whether this improves the quality of the sample set of your pictures, at least there is a little more history added to my own collection, and that’s never a bad thing. I also appreciate the fact that your mom put little notes on the back of many of these, so I can figure out when they’re from, give or take a few days (although with Christmas visits, it’s usually rather obvious). Granted, not all of them are so marked (possibly because she wasn’t the one taking the picture), leaving me to simply guess at their provenance.

Your visit to Elizabeth’s Uncle Russ, for example, was after I graduated, but while you were still in college; but that still could be the summer of either 1990 or 1991. I’m guessing the latter, because you’re not around to correct me.
Your posing proudly by your ‘new’ car I could only guess by context; based on the photos around it, this picture must have been taken between Christmas 2005 and April 2006, and was taken on a Sunday. I just chose a random Sunday in March of 2006, and let it go at that. Again, it’s not like anyone will call me on it. And if you’re wondering why I’m concerning myself about dates (apart from just wanting to know out of idle curiosity, I have a place in the cloud where I store everything (and I mean everything) in terms of photographs these days, and it sorts everything by date. Sure, there’s a section for ‘no date available,’ but I don’t like putting things there if I can help it.

Then again, there are pictures that I remember because I was there. Remember this series of photos we staged?

I don’t know whether it started with you wanting to dress up for Halloween as a princess, or if we spotted that unicorn head mask and came up with the story from there; maybe a little of both. But yeah, we staged this little tableau, only to have another denizen of the I-house crash it with his rapier, leaving me headless. Of course, you’re not actually crying in those photos; as I recall, if was all you could do to keep from laughing, so you had to cover your face to maintain the illusion. And yes, here I go wrecking that, the first time this sequence gets published on the internet. So sorry about that.

Thus far, I don’t know if any of these will add to the sum total of ‘knowledge’ the AI can aggregate about you. These don’t have anywhere near the sharpness of digital cameras, to be honest, and it’s not as if many of these really show off your younger, svelter figure (But why would they, when most of them are taken by your parents?). Still, it’s been a trip down memory lane, and that lane goes off into a considerable distance. We’ll have to see where this goes.

With that having been said, keep an eye on me for now, honey, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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