By Katherine Wright 

Nowadays, it’s straight-up obnoxious when your phone’s photo app sends you “on this day 2 years ago” updates or Snapchat alerts you of a new memory.

Now that we’re trapped indoors, looking forward to grocery store outings and Zoom calls, we don’t want to see our past selves bragging about all the restaurants, concerts and public gatherings we once could attend. It’s just rude, really. 

Even still, I find it more tempting than ever to scroll through my bottomless camera roll, reminiscing on memories of pre-mask times and taking in preserved photos that formerly went unnoticed and unopened, like a time capsule. 


The seal has been broken, and now I’m hunched over my time capsule in between my virtual, blue-light-filled life, restricted to phone calls, online tests and Zoom hangouts.

With the days blurring in similarity and having more downtime than ever, we cycle through social media platforms, YouTube videos, Netflix and our own camera rolls, longing for a once-careless world where germs were gross but ignored and you didn’t think twice about touching a door knob. 

“Ah, remember this?” you sigh, staring at a photo you accidentally took last year, a blurred vision of a crowded Starbucks or a jam-packed dorm elevator. “Those were the days,” you say to yourself. 

Those were the days. 

Even more than my phone’s rude reminders of maskless memories from the past few years, I have found myself looking to my camera roll for writing or creative inspiration — a desperate means of putting together the blurry remnants of what “precedented times” are supposed to look like. 

Indoor restaurants, grocery stores without lines, order-at-the-counter coffee shops, crowded shopping malls, vacations and unpleasant-but-fearless trips to the doctor’s office.

I can’t seem to imagine anything beyond the world of Zoom calls and afternoon walks at this point, so I need constant reminders about anything and everything. After all of this comes to an end and normalcy slowly starts to trickle back, I feel like I’m going to want to desperately document it all.

I’ll take pictures of long lines, public bathrooms and the empty spot on the counter where the hand sanitizer used to be, stores free of “one way” stickers and hostess stands at a restaurant. 

So long, to-go containers filled with soggy fries, and hello bread baskets, placed delicately on my indoor table with a side of butter on a plate instead of in a packet. Oh, how I’ve missed you. 

In the meantime, I will continue to scroll through my camera roll, trying to stay fresh on once-normal experiences and studying to remember social protocols so I don’t forget in my current Zoom bubble. 

Thank you, camera roll, for keeping me on my toes and sending me reminders — however rude — of normalcy. 

Until we meet again.