What’s the protocol when it comes to destroying photos of exes? I was scrolling back through my iPhone the other day and stumbled upon a few photos of an ex of mine and was at a loss as to what to do with them. What are the rules around getting rid of photographic evidence of past disasters? Is it ok to throw someone into the trash? The evidentiary photos sent me on a journey down memory lane to the site of another photographic ex-disposal-session. This was way back in the day of glossy print photos that you could whack in a frame, stick up on your wall and gaze at dreamily whilst the object of your affections was stuck in his bedroom doing homework. Again, a moment of not knowing the disposal protocol.
As a kid I’d read about certain indigenous cultures believing that photographs captured a part of a person’s soul, and I think that superstition might have rubbed off on me. The idea of throwing the photos into the bin was completely abhorrent to me. Not least because I was in the photos as well. How could I throw my soul in the bin? Burning the photos wasn’t an option either. It just felt too destructive. And Satanic. My ex wasn’t that bad that I wished him to burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity. Maybe for a little of it, but not all of it! So I resorted to a photographic burial. It felt more organic to make worm food out of the two of us.
What about memories of exes? How do you deal with those? Can you simply switch them off? What about when you hear that song that you used to listen to together? Or travel to places you’d been together? Or when you drive past his house – not in a stalkery way, but because you have to bloody well get where you’re going, and there’s no other way to get there – do you avert your eyes to stop the memories flooding in? Or is that just like inviting in a trojan horse?
And how about when they sneak back into your dreams? Is there no privacy, I ask? No lock that can’t be unpicked? I dreamed of another ex from my oh-so-joyful school days last night whom I was happily snogging. But he’d been eating fish and chips, so he had greasy flake-flavoured kisses! What’s with that?!
You can bury a photo, but what about memories and dreams? I’ve seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so I know what can happen if you try to erase your memories of someone. Sometimes they come back. And as any good Stephen King novel can attest, that might not be such a happy scenario. So tell me, what should I do with these damn photos on my iPhone? Especially now that digital is forever. And ever. And ever?