Παρασκευή, 29 Αυγούστου 2014

My grandma lives... in Google Street View!

Thisis the english version of the previous post that I wrote in Greek, It was an exception but I don't want my international friends to miss out on the story. So, here's the english version.


There weren't many days since I came to my mother's paternal house. Maybe it was the pressure from the army, maybe the heat that was at its brink now that the August is ending, some days off were imperatory. What better place for that than my grandma's backyard? It's been three years exactly since she passed away - time flies like that - and despite my mom having the place completely renovated, her remembrance has hardly left.


One of these carefree mornings, being spent on small talk with my mom, while finishing off some soft ice cream, she proposed that I should look on Google for my grandma. Her request was weird, but it was because a neighbor saw my grandma walking on Google Street View. I knew instantly that it was more of a need than mere quriosity. I tried to access the service with my smartphone, while finding a way not to deplete my remaining program. Then, I decided to do it with a more capable device and connection.


After a busy afternoon and after a new reminder from my mom, I installed the Google Earth app on my iPad at my cousin's Wi-Fi. I typed the name of the road grandma's house was in and did a little walk in the virtual version of the neighborhood. Without realising it at first, I stumbled to a familiar figure.



It was my grandma, there was no mistake. It was Grandma Tassia, a widow to a sailor who got lost in the Bermudha Triangle. The death and hardships of her life were deeply carved into her face and mind. She was standing there, with her cane and the green checkered robe, close to a nearby garbage bin. She was probably out to throw garbage away the moment Google Street View's camera was out and about. Her face was blurred due to Google's Privacy Policy, but there was no doubt it was her. She was standing, looking puzzled by the peculiar contruption on top of Google's car, without realising that she has been snapped. Likewise, she didn't know death would find her some months later.


I shivered. My brother and my cousin bursted into awkward laughs. I was too petrified to show any other emotion than the one of pure surprise. I immediately saved the screenshots as if it was an instict, I tried to see if there are other angles that show her clearly. I found 2 or 3 that showed her but they were distant. The transition animation clearly had her walking across the road though. I wanted to see more, but alas. Google had no more space for her, so I settled with two clear photos.


I ran to my mom, even if it was already pretty late and she was about to sleep. It was like I uncovered some ancient tomb. Thankfully, she was awake. Maybe she was anticipating the outcome since she was the one who reminded me to do the research. She sat on the bed. "look" I whispered and I gave her the iPad. She took her glasses and looked. "Yes. It's her indeed. I recognise her. I know the cane and the robe too...) I scrolled into the second photo. "Oh mother" she whispered and her voice was trembling. "Can you please zoom in a bit? I can't get enough looking at her". I zoomed in with my fingers without a second thought. "Please save them". She was hardly holding her tears back. "They're saved already" I assured her. "I will send them to your e-mail so you'll have them too, OK?". She moved her head in affirmation. I kissed her in the cheek and she went to sleep. I took the slate and went back to my cousin's balcony and Wi-Fi. 


The rest of the night was spent into small talk and funny stuff on the internet. But the summary hasn't changed. My grandma lives... On Google Earth. Standing, with her cane and robe, taking out the trash. Immortalized. It's probably the most recent photo of her and the last of her standing. There until Google renews their Street View photos and deletes her. You see, time works the same way with people's memory. It's the duration that changes.


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