Midnight Scan

posted 19 Nov 2002, 10PM | 5 Comments

Last night at 11:30 pm, I drove to the Kinkos in Hollywood (where both Andrew and Matt used to work) to scan a few slides sent to be by a visual artist whose website I'm building. The store was clean and mostly empty at that hour, attended by a dark-skinned gentleman, a man with a mustache, and a fellow in a wheelchair. I had brought extra ZIP disks and special powers of concentration, determined to optimize my $24/hour time on the scanner. It was equipped with an attachment, to backlight each tiny transluscent painting. The darkly-colored "Design PC" was all decked out, indeed.

Kinkos was minimally-staffed at that hour, so I helped a sad, single 40-year-old woman get herself situated on the nearby Macintosh. She needed to scan a picture of her cat, who had run away from home just hours before. Her face was pink. She had raised the tabby since he was two weeks old, she said, and he had never been outside of their house.

Her plain face winced with wrinkles and tears as I orally guided her through the scanning process, unable to see her monitor as I busied myself with my slides (open photoshop, wait for it to load, choose the file menu, then 'scantastic', wait for the scanner to warm up, choose your resolution) . She had already begun scanning one shot at high-resolution, so she showed me the other one: her tiny tabby sat on a hardwood floor in the picture, but I studied on the bookshelf in the background, loaded with Stephen King books.

As I finished, I stepped over to see how she was doing. On her 17-inch monitor I saw the scanned image of her tabby playing on that same hardwood floor in dappled sunglight. My eyes darted quickly, and I saw that at fullscreen, the ones-and-zeros shot of this small cat was displayed at only 8.5% of its actual size.

In her distress, she had scanned at unnecessarily high resolution. As I helped her resize, and packed up my things, I imagined her carrying a printed version of that 7000 pixel wide image out of the store with arms spread. Walking from the Kinkos back to her neighborhood, standing on her street-corner, waving the banner, crying and hoping that someone would recognize the giant tiny feline and bring him home safely.

I told her I would pray for him. I paid only $16 to the man in the wheelchair.

There are 5 Comments


19 Nov 02 at 09:57PM R. said:

I liked that.


19 Nov 02 at 11:17PM ryan said:

Thanks, Raza. Felt like the kind of thing I haven't written in a while.

Jeez. Time to work on my comment template.


19 Nov 02 at 11:59PM R. said:

Have you been having weird CGI outages through Dreamhost today? I wanted to comment earlier, but your comments were down ... and now mine are, in rolling fashion.


20 Nov 02 at 12:00AM R. said:

Have you been having? Ugh. Have you been experiencing....


20 Nov 02 at 10:41AM awol said:

That man in the wheelchair is Steve, and that night shift he works is tacked on to a full day (where he works at two different radio stations). He's an amazing human being, and very helpful to the novice computer renter.

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