It was a weird week with the holiday, so if you missed my post from Thursday, check it out here so you can appreciate this chapter of the getting Mini's grad photo taken saga. We'll wait.
Clarify: Mini told me recently that the reason she didn't know she was supposed to choose a yearbook photo was that she doesn't pay attention to announcements at school. It wasn't an overlooked email as I'd initially thought. Not sure if that impacts our empathy for her 'situation', but there's that.
Finally in mid May, I texted Mini during the school day: We are going to JC Penny today at 5. Shower when you get home.
I called in advance. Explained that we just needed senior portraits. Head shots. Was that something they could do. Sure. Simple, right?
Oh, before I made the JC Penny appt, I took a ton of photos of Mini outside our home in front of a bush. Greenery as the backdrop. She hated all 50 of them, but could've been convinced to select one. I was unaware that she was so critical of her appearance. Now that I know, we will have to work on encouraging self love, along with moving towards having her willing to hug people to show affection. Not sure if you realize, but in addition to not paying attention to announcements at school, Mini doesn't hug.
|This was a cute |
photo, before I made it
creepy looking by
erasing my kid's face.
Mini couldn't find the shirt she'd JUST worn for my outdoor photo shoot like two days before. I'm rarely speechless, but there I was. I shrugged, uttered a few guttural sounds blaming the state of her room, then offered her dressy solid colored options from my closet.
We dropped Reg off at b-ball a full hour early in order to make the one appointment JC Penny had available. Basketball was very near the mall, so I had to combine the two. I'd contemplated dragging Reg along for the photo session and dropping him at the gym afterwards in case the courts weren't free. Looking back, I thank my lucky stars that he was happy to be an hour early rather than witness what was to come.
The woman at the JC Penny desk asked me to choose some backgrounds.
Me: OK, THIS GRAY IS FINE. WE ARE ONLY DOING HEAD SHOTS. JUST NEED A GRAD PIC. SHE ISN'T INTERESTED IN LAYING ON THE GROUND OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
Lady: OK, WELL WE TAKE 12 POSES.
Me: OK, WELL - SO LONG AS THEY ARE JUST HEAD SHOTS. (with 12 different angles?)
*is this a difficult concept? When the boys had their photo shoot, they had 9-12 photos taken. All in the suit, same background. Just 12 attempts to capture a good smile, etc.
She insisted I pick out more than one background. I eye-rolled and indicated the plain white one even though I just wanted the gray.
As the woman went to 'set up' the room, she asked Mini if she played any sports in school.
Mini: TENNIS, BASKETBALL, AND BADMINTON
I knew where this was headed, but Mini looked confused.
Me: YEAH, SO - SHE IS 100% NOT WANTING TO POSE WITH A BASKETBALL. JUST HEADSHOTS.
Lady: OH, REALLY? OK.
Mini and I exchanged a look. She called Mini into the room and I followed her. My-way-or-the-highway-photo-shoot woman told me I couldn't come in. Oh, was this a covid thing, or did she just not want anyone interfering with her bossy-pants photo session? I stood just outside the doorway of the 5 x 10 foot space.
my-way-or-the-highway: DO YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF OR DO YOU WANT THEM IN THE PICTURE?
Mini, who was wearing my dressy top, shorts that she threw on not intending them to be in the photo, and athletic slides, looked at her blankly. I wanted to ask WHY ARE HER FEET IN THE PHOTO IF IT IS NOT A FULL BODY SHOT? instead I hollered from the doorway,
JUST HEAD SHOTS.
Lady: JUST HUMOR ME.
I didn't hear her say this. Mini told me later. I really didn't want to waste this trip, energy, effort, etc. I really wasn't in the mood to humor ANYONE. But from my stalker-in-the-doorway spot, I watched as my kid kicked off her athletic slides while sideways glancing at me.
Next the woman had Mini place the palm of her hand on the side of her face, as if she'd sustained a flesh wound on her face and she was trying to stop the bleeding.
Again, not about to order that nonsense.
I mouthed the words to Mini: SAY SOMETHING. SHE'S NOT LISTENING TO ME.
Mini's face resembled an angry emoji, as if this was my fault. Swell.
Next: photos of Mini turned backward, looking at the camera over one shoulder. I had stuff to do at home. I was mid senior video and I feared this was a waste of my time. I wanted to bang my head on the wall.
Photo-shoot-run-amuck-lady: OK, NOW I WANT YOU TO LAY ON YOUR BELLY.
HOLD THE PHONE, WHAT ON EARTH? I'D SPECIFICALLY SAID NOT DOING THAT.
I hissed: HEADSHOTS.
Not that it mattered.
|Take my word for it, Mini was laughing after|
having been dragged into position. What is
wrong with, SO CAN YOU SCOOT
BACK A FEW FEET?
The lady then momentarily forgot that Mini wasn't a 9 month old or a toddler and is, in fact, 18 years old and 5'11". She grabbed my daughter by the ankles and scooted her backwards a few feet.
Why, oh why, did I not see this coming so that I could video this unexpected moment? I snapped a photo but bossy pants was walking away from Mini by then.
torture 12 poses were finally wrapped up and we were told to sit in the waiting area. My-Way-Or-The-Highway was busy doctoring the photos up with words like 'graduate' arched over Mini's image, because that's traditional. Apparently.
I nudged Mini: GO ASK HER IF SHE CAN JUST EMAIL US THE PROOFS SO WE CAN END THIS NIGHTMARE. NOT SURE HOW LONG WE WILL HAVE TO WAIT HERE.
Mini: I'M SURE NONE OF THESE PHOTOS WILL WORK. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HER? SO WEIRD.
Mini asked if we could be released from the basement studio, but she was told that the pics were almost ready and emailing wasn't an option.
At last, we stood in front of the computer to select the poses that we liked. Bossy scrolled right through all the nonsense ones and actually said SO YOU DON'T WANT ANY OF THESE, RIGHT?
Now? NOW - SHE GETS THE MESSAGE? Super strange. There were a total of 2 photos that we didn't classify as Cheez-Whiz. One of the weird ones was a horizonal photo of Mini's face, but not centered. Hey JC Penny - the artistic world called, they are declining your membership application to the artsy world. There was a ton of space on one side of her as if she was posing with a buddy who forgot to show up. I asked if she could crop that one and make it look like a regular head shot. Now we had 3 to choose from. Small miracles.
Never in my life have I uttered the words 'head shot' more in a one hour window.
Mercifully there was one photograph that both Mini and I found acceptable. Of course it was on the white background vs the gray, but the saying about beggars and choosers applies here. DONE!
On the way home, Mini was wishing we'd been assigned the other woman who was working at the time. I was like: NOT SURE IT WOULD'LVE MATTERED. MAYBE THAT'S JUST HOW THE PLACE OPERATES. Mini thought differently.
Mini: NO, SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS THE MATHMATICAL LIKELIHOOD THAT BOTH WOMEN WHO WORK THERE HAVE PERSONALITY DISORDERS?
Needless to say, we cry laughed all the way home. I celebrated when I got an email from JC Penny asking about my experience. I was happy to share my feelings.