Selfie Psychosis

We are learning more and more about people who have a “selfie” obsession.  We know that people taking selfies are at greater risk of having serious, and even fatal, accidents because they are oblivious to their surroundings while they are taking pictures of themselves on streets or, say, at the edge of the Grand Canyon.  We’ve also seen evidence that people who take selfies are so self-absorbed that they don’t show the decency and sensitivity you typically would expect from a fellow human being.

Woman taking a selfieNow new research is indicating what seems like a pretty obvious conclusion:  people who take selfies are more likely to undergo plastic surgery.  The connection is even stronger if the selfies are taken with filters, or if the posters regularly take down selfie postings that they later conclude aren’t very flattering.  Cosmetic surgeons are reporting that members of the selfie crowd are coming to their offices with selfies where the features have been digitally altered and asked the doctor to change their appearance to match the altered image.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, I suppose, that people who take selfies are narcissistic and are interested in changing their appearance to try to reach their own definition of personal perfection.  After all, if you spend your time constantly looking at your own pouting face, you’re bound to notice a few imperfections to be cleaned up.  The selfie-obsessed also tend to compare their selfies with the countless other selfies that appear on social media feeds and find their looks wanting.

As one of the plastic surgeons quoted in the article linked above notes, that’s not healthy behavior.  It’s the kind of behavior that those of us who don’t take selfies, and indeed don’t particularly like to have their photos taken at all, just can’t understand.

But we’ll have to, because the selfie epidemic seems to be getting worse, not better.  Researchers estimate that 650 million selfies are posted every day on social media.  That’s a lot of potential plastic surgery.

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Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July from dazzling Stonington, Maine, where the tide is out, the sun is shining, and conditions are perfect for a celebration of our independence.

May everyone enjoy their freedoms today!

In Lupine Land

Lupines are found throughout Downeast Maine. They are beautiful and easily identifiable through their pine cone-shaped flowers and circular leaves. Even better, they grow anywhere and everywhere and require about as much care and feeding as your average weed.

If you come to Maine in June and early July you’re bound to see lupines in bloom. These beauties are in the driveway next to our cottage.

Mountain Air Versus Ocean Air

There is a certain invigorating quality to mountain air. It’s thinner, of course, but there’s also a coolness and crispness to it, and frequently a whiff of pine or juniper, too. Mountain air is the quintessential fresh air, and you can’t help but savor big gulps of it.

Ocean air is special as well. It’s got that salty tang to it, and also a faint (and sometimes not so faint) odor of rotting seaweed that we associate with the shoreline. And, because you are by definition at sea level, it’s a heady, oxygen-rich mixture.

So, which is better? That’s an impossibly tough call, but if I were forced to choose I’d probably go with the ocean air. I know one thing for sure, though — either beats city air, or indoor air.

Atop Pike’s Peak

On our visit to Colorado we drove up to the top of Pike’s Peak. The summit is 14,115 feet high — pretty rarefied air for a flatlander from the Midwest — and offers a commanding view of the surrounding mountains and countryside far below.

There was construction at the summit and preparations for a road race were underway, so visitors couldn’t drive up to the top by themselves. Instead, you had to stop at the 13-mile marker or the 16-mile marker and take a shuttle to the summit. We stopped at the 13-mile marker, just below the tree line. That allowed us to avoid the white-knuckle part of the drive and entrust our safety to somebody who (presumably, at least) was used to navigating the guardrail-free hairpin turns that take you to the peak.

The summit is stunning. Photos can’t really capture the vast, panoramic views. It was very windy at the top, so you didn’t want to get too close to the edge and flirt with a potential mishap. It was noticeably colder, too, with snow on the ground in spots. It didn’t take long before the thinner air and high altitude started to have a physical impact on the members of our group, manifested in budding headaches and a feeling of malaise.

Twenty to thirty minutes is plenty of time to check out the top, and we were all glad to board the shuttle and head back down the mountain. On the way down we saw some antelope and the curious rodents that inhabit the area. When we got back down to the 13-mile marker, safe and sound, we celebrated with some big gulps of oxygen-rich air.

Swan Serenity

For all I know, swans are inwardly tormented creatures. They could be wound tighter than a coil, churning on the inside with deep-seated angst and concern. But if that is in fact the case, swans are masters of concealment — for no other animal or bird projects a more placid demeanor than a swan gliding gracefully and calmly across the surface of a lake.

When you can start the day with a few laps around a peaceful lake on a crisp, bright morning, with a swan for company, it’s sure to put you in a serene frame of mind.