Do you remember when the traditional mail service was all we had? Kids think of it as old fashioned and call it “snail mail”, like we just buried Paul Revere or something. That’s how fast things can evolve and populations can change. “What? You sent that 30 minutes ago and they still haven’t written back?”
I am as dependent on the internet as the next person, but there is a limit to my obsession. Maybe I have this limit because I can remember what things used to be like - and they were magical. There wasn’t a better feeling than pulling out a crinkled envelope addressed to my name, the ink slightly smudged from all the people whose hands it passed through to get it to me. Those were the days when “pen pal” actually meant something to any age. The trend may have faded throughout the years since, but getting a letter from a friend really is wonderful, even if we have forgotten.
It was almost like winning a prize. I’d run to my room and take my time to careful open the envelope, making sure not to rip the note that was precious. If I was really lucky, there would be a picture inside. It’s funny how something so simple could make my entire day.
I understand that progress is needed, but I can’t help but feel that we have cheated an entire generation of simple pleasures. How many of the hundreds of emails that you receive daily do you actually give a second thought to? There is something about reading on a screen that always makes it just a little cold; absent of human touch.
What about when car-phones hit the market? It was a status symbol, 100%. At that time, the regular working family could not afford such a show of luxury, but oh how some would try. They even sold fake antennas that hooked on to your car to give the illusion of having a car-phone. They didn’t fool anybody. Money makes us all just a little envious, myself included. I didn’t have anybody to call, but man did I want to be seen driving through Miami talking into a phone that resembled a walkie-talkie.
Now, I am not a fan of how we constantly improve our ability to keep in contact with one another. Most of the time my phone is on mute or isn’t on me and I don’t usually answer. I know that irritates my family and friends, but just because somebody decides to dial my number doesn’t mean I am beholden to answer.
These days, kids view their smartphones as an appendage, but they don’t know otherwise. Many of them haven’t experienced the joys of simple means of communications. I recently read that teaching our youth cursive handwriting will sooner or later be phased out of our classrooms. Nobody uses it and teaching them to code would probably be a better use of resources. Despite having the intelligence of their smart phones in their pockets, what they are missing out on is a treasure.
They will never know how fabulous it is to dial your family on a rotary-phone, nor will the majority of them enjoy getting a letter from a pal they have not seen in too long. They will never appreciate the time and effort spent on choosing the right paper or admire the lipstick that forms a kiss on the back of the envelope. Emailing can’t give you that.
I’m proud of the progress we have made and am thankful for the convenience it has provided. However, sometimes we need to look back and enjoy the simple things that used to make life pleasant.
Next time you’re feeling a little down, write a letter telling a friend how much they mean to you. Tell them you love them in ink, not with the press of a button. Letters have a way of imprinting their message in the hearts of those who receive them. Let’s slow it down: put the phone down, close the computer and take a second to remember the little things that matter, you’ll be happy you did.
Have a wonderful weekend. We will speak again next week. I will bring the coffee.