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PFDA - Pre-Film Development Anxiety (humor relic from the film era)
SDS (storm deprivation syndrome) is the best-known off-season storm observer ailment. But before the digital age, there was another affliction common to storm observers: PFDA (Pre-Film Development Anxiety). Storm observers who have ever shot film (slides and negatives) are likely very familiar with this temporary - but acute - psychological episode that occurs after every successful storm observation day. When capturing a shot on a film camera, you don't know what you've captured until the film has been taken to a lab and processed. Digital cameras have cured PFDA, which today only affects the small number of holdout storm observers still using film.
A observer usually experiences PFDA between capturing great storm stills (mostly of lightning, supercells and/or tornadoes) and getting the developed film back from a lab. The anxiety is rooted in the following fears:
So, here's a 'blast from the past', an informational PSA on PFDA posted on the Lightning List in June of 2001 (with a few updates):
- That the images could have been under/over exposed or out of focus.
- That the roll of film could be defective.
- That something will happen to the roll of film (damage or destruction) before it can be developed.
- That the lab will mess up the development of, lose and/or throw away the film.
Symptoms of PFDA (Pre-Film Development Anxiety):
Having to wait more than a full day for slides/negatives to come back produces severe PFDA symptoms. The victim experiences traumatic nightmares and paranoid thoughts of one or more of the following:
- Camping outside the lab overnight to get the film in as soon as they open
- Calling the photo lab every 2 minutes to see if your slides are done yet
- Pacing at the lab counter for hours, staring at the technician in the back room
- Driving by the lab every 10 minutes to make sure it's still there
The only relief for a PFDA patient is the safe receipt of one's successfully-developed film. Until this time, the victim should be distracted as much as possible with lightning and tornado videos.
- The lab employee hands you the film envelope. It is completely flat, with a large magic marker note scribbled on it: 'Blank roll - charge $0.00'
- You walk through the door of the photo lab, and suddenly everyone stops what they're doing and gets real quiet, like you've just walked through the swinging doors of a saloon in an old western movie.
- You get to the photo lab and it is surrounded by fire trucks and police cars.
- The owner of the photo lab walks over to you and sheepishly offers to buy you lunch.
- TV news crews are reporting out in front of where the photo lab building used to be.
- The 6 o'clock news shows chopper footage of the aftermath of a fiery crash involving a gasoline tanker and a photo lab truck.
- As you enter the lab, suddenly 3 lab employees run like mad out of the back room screaming and yelling.
- A priest accompanies the lab technician when he returns to the counter with your film envelope.
- The lab employee meekly hands you your envelope with a pained expression on his face.
- The lab employee gives you your film envelope, then runs and hides.
- Horror movie music begins playing when you enter the front door of the lab.