Opinion | Off the Cuff

Trying to give up stalking people is real hard

Since practically everybody is into photography, I thought it would be a good distraction for me

  • By Mahmood Saberi Senior Reporter
  • Published: 20:00 February 12, 2013
  • Gulf News

I am desperately trying to get off Twitter, the social media where you update people about everything that’s going on around you.

Late into the night, I sit and Tweet (sending messages on Twitter is called Tweeting, which is embarrassing, as it sounds like that yellow canary bird with a lisp, from Looney Tunes) about things like the resignation of the pope or what I ate for lunch.

I am not sure why the resignation of the pope would interest my “followers”, but they in turn send me even more bizarre news like North Korea’s underground nuclear test or the world’s most expensive cupcake. (The latter, of course, was made closer to home here in Dubai. The cost for biting into this confectionary would have set you back about Dh3,500. This was no ordinary fairy cake — the “Golden Phoenix” was wrapped in edible 23-carat gold and the organic flour was imported from Italy!)

You must know this by now, but “Following” someone on Twitter is like stalking people without getting into trouble. And the more followers you have, the better stalker you will be since others will “follow” you back and you can “follow” them.

I believe Twitter is even more addictive than Facebook, which I know is all about posting pictures and making other people jealous about your oh-so-exciting-life! Since photography has now been made simple with the advent of smartphones, you have “posts” on Facebook of people posing in front of practically everything you can think of.

“That’s me on my vacation in the Land of the Hobbit, New Zealand,” said the post of one of my friends. I expected to see some breath-taking scenery, but all I saw was my friend in front of a tree, flashing the ‘victory’ sign.

But I digress, since Twitter was taking much of my time, my wife suggested that I get a hobby that will get me off my sofa and into the real world. When you come to think of it, people have some really strange hobbies, even stranger than Twitter.

I collected stamps way back in time and drove everyone crazy. Stamp collecting teaches you about your world, said a collector in my neighbourhood, who I thought was a bit eccentric. He always carried around a magnifying glass in his shirt pocket.

After a couple of months in my stamp-collecting hobby I would usually go: “See, a stamp in the shape of a triangle,” I would boast to my friends. “Do you know the average rainfall of this place where this stamp comes from?” Then I would whip out a World Atlas and bore my friends to tears with the geographical details of the Cape of Good Hope.

Good distraction

Since practically everybody is into photography, I thought it would be a good distraction for me and will get me out into the real world again. I finally bought a camera after much internal debate and frequent visits to the camera section at the hyperstore.

The salesman was patient and knew that I didn’t want to spend too much. Every time I dropped by, he would explain the various features of a digital camera. Once he told me the lens was anti-vibration and that sent me back home again to the internet for further research.

Now, I shoot pictures out of my bedroom window. So far, I have shot a puzzled-looking cat and a couple jogging.

The camera came with a free tele-photo lens, but no normal lens that can shoot things close-up, so most of the time I am looking at shooting pictures of people and objects more than 400 metres away!

Unfortunately, like a smoker trying to quit, photography has not made me give up Twitter — and now I have two hobbies.

Gulf News
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