Outside the Box

Content: Chapter 3

Vacations with my family are unique, and somehow at the same time very organized.  Because of my parents’… flexible jobs, we are able to go whenever my sister and I have school off. We go places where others families go, like the beach, the mountains, some big city, and even once we went to Europe.  We just… pack differently, foreseeing irregular prospects from our journey.

Mom usually is the one to organize our road trips and vacations.  In fact, it’s her subscribers who know about our vacations before we, the rest of the family, do.  Mom puts out at least two videos before we head out– one for planning the outing, and one for packing for it.  She always has new suitcases to pack up in some new unique way found through blogs she reads or other influencers she networks with.  When we see said baggage near the door, we know to ask about our destination and the duration of the trip so that we may pack our own stuff.

Cameron used to like trips, at least before his schedule for going live on the internet was a thing.  He stayed home for the first couple of trips while the rest of us went on our own.  After those first few tips, he confessed to us that he was too afraid to cook on his own while alone, out of fear of starting a fire and burning down the house.  How he imagined doing so while only using the microwave for instant noodles was beyond me.  He began to join us after that, but only after buying a separate gaming laptop, one weighing many pounds, so that he could continue his work from the hotel rooms wherever we were staying.  Sometimes if he was feeling brave, he streamed live from his phone while following us to the beach or around a city’s streets.

Macy’s favorite place to go is the big cities. If anything, my sister Macy packs the lightest of any of us.  Her bag starts off with only her small bits of camera equipment a few necessary outfits, and only grows from there as she finds more while shopping about the fun new stores.  It seems as if her vacation time is viewed more through the shiny glass of a lens rather than directly through her own eyes.  

Dad doesn’t get much out of trips, apart from maybe ideas for new woodworking projects and furniture pieces while going about to various attractions.  One morning in a hotel, he must have disturbed half of the collection guests going about a table in the breakfast room and snapping pictures of it from every angle.  A few weeks after we got back, he produced a video on ‘copy-cat furniture from scratch’ while replicating that very same table.

Mom and dad take turns accompanying us wherever we go.  My mom’s videos while on location generally have her pretending to herd us around, narrating all the things she had found to do, ordering and eating all the interesting food, and visiting all the backdrop-worthy locations.  Between takes of her videos, we manage to act like most normal and well-adjusted families, simply taking in the sites.  

It is never an outing as a family without one of them being recognized.  It’s no surprise that it is usually Macy, and usually in some fancy store or shopping district.  It usually begins with looks and whispers, and glances at phone screens to double-check, and then a careful yet delighted approach.  Strangers, or rather the individuals parasocially acquainted with my sister, are surprised to find that she is quieter and more reserved in real life compared to herself on social media.  They usually talk her up a bit, ask for a selfie, a follow, a shoutout, or a combination of the above.  I guess nobody asks for autographs anymore.  

Cameron has been noticed a few times as well, generally encompassing people shouting his channel name at him from across the street, or fingers pointed in the shapes of guns, or passing fist-bumps.  He responds with a similar energy, and then when out of view, slumps back down to look at his feet and hide among the rest of us.

My parents have never gotten noticed to my knowledge.  I assume that most people watching middle-aged content creators doing random things around the house are not the same type of people who go out to socialize.  I’m perhaps the only person in my family who does not show their face publicly on any site I use, nor would I imagine that if I did, anyone would dare call out to me out of fear of being seen connected to the types of circles that I am involved with.  

It was a few years ago that our sociology class in high school talked about digital citizenship and having a presence online, especially with social media.  The teacher went on about trying your best to stay anonymous anywhere where posted content isn’t private.  Of course, they didn’t know about my family, but the friends in that class who did know about my parents and siblings offered me a few smirks.  I guess there really is no escape either way.

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