Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Signed, sealed, delivered?

When I was younger, I used to write letters and cards to older relatives, and probably because I was a child and because they were lonely, I received letters and cards and sometimes packages back. I wasn't always the best at doing so with regularity, and while I may have had great intentions to do so more frequently, honestly, I tended to forget to follow through. It gave me a brief twinge one day when I was cleaning to find a postcard that I had addressed and neglected to send to my now-deceased great-aunt.

In more recent years, I've tried picking up the correspondence habit with several aunts and cousins, but they never write back, so I let those trickle off. With friends, I never really tried snail-mail correspondence, but that was fine, because we had e-mail. While e-mail isn't the same thing as a physical, hand-written, genuine, hold-in-your-hand letter, it would typically cover the same grounds as a letter--chatty, reconnecting, sometimes philosophical discussions.

Unfortunately, that too disappears. It's not that we don't keep in touch; there's Facebook for that. But it's not the same at all. While commenting on status updates is a great way to keep up with people's day-to-day lives, it isn't the same as sitting down to a nice, long, thought-out letter or e-mail or composing them, knowing that in a day or few, there's going to be a corresponding one in your own inbox. I miss those.

Ultimately, it makes me wonder: are those days gone too? Am I already a relic in my nostalgic musings for meaningful connection beyond an increasingly soundbite-length attention span?

1 comment:

wozza said...

Me again - I wrote on my blog recently about correspondence I've had with a cousin in England since I was ten. The relationship has morphed as you describe from letters and tapes to cards and now emails. Not the same at all but it is contact. The corollary of improved technology is how easy it is to keep in (superficial) touch with far flung family and friends. And look - I can communicate with you (otherwise I would have no clue of your existence). On balance it's a bit yin yang.