I had a horrible realisation the other day: I am officially old.

I had this epiphany in a tunnel at St. Pancras station. I’d seen a self-service currency exchange machine in the tunnel and decided to take a quick picture of it because I hadn’t seen one before and have always been interested in the way in which service jobs are being replaced by machines – how human interactions are being automated.

I stood in front of the machine and took out my phone to take a photo:

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Doesn’t it look exciting?

As I was taking the picture, a group of teenagers approached. One of them mumbled something along the lines of “weird place to take a selfie” as they walked past me. As they walked past, they walked in front of me, getting in the way of the machine I was trying to photograph. This was when I had my realisation. I am on the wrong side of the selfie generational divide.

When I see someone taking a picture and need to walk around them, I would walk behind them to avoid getting in the way. Generation Selfie, however, assumes the lens is pointing the other way. That is why the group walked in front of me, they didn’t want to pop up in the background of my tunnel-selfie.

And so, I have to accept that I am not part of Generation Selfie. I am Pre-Selfie, they are Post-Selfie. My lens faces outwards, their lens faces inwards.

I can at least comfort myself with the thought that I can pass as a member of Generation Selfie. They saw me and assumed I was one of them. Either that or they didn’t think anyone would be weird enough to stop and take a picture of a self-service currency exchange machine.

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