e mërkurë, 10 shkurt 2010
to send ... press "send"
Here is a writing I started about friendships and how we keep them the other night.
In considering how I receive communication from friends, aquaintences and others ... even people I don't know but would like to know (that do not fall under the umbrella of work), I would rank them in the following order:
[top being most appreciated / bottom being least fond of]
bottle from the water
tapping on a wall
napkin in public place
rotary land line call
cell phone call
car windshield (too invasive)
All this factors in for various reason (ingenuity, level of excitement when receiving, how active I am in retrieval of said message, etc.)
Flash back 10 years ago.
- i did not have a cell phone but I did have a cordless phone at home and used the internet regularly but only about 5 minutes a day (paltry in comparison to today) I traveled and didn't consider having a cell phone a handicap in anyway. I mailed art to friends. My favorite note ever was on a napkin from a friend. It said "do you want some cake?" That was code for do you want to go make out in the bathroom. I probably abused the office color copier to make reproductions of things.
flash back 20 years ago.
- I was an early adoptor of the internet in the early 90's but used it in college about once a week to chat with people in other universities who had the same pre AOL service. I was only on a computer to do text based design. I typed everything on a "word processor". I had my first PO box and sent letters all the time. I called my mom on a pay phone occationally. i wrote letters to friends in other countries. I left notes on the photocopier so people would find them on purpose. I would mail letters written on objects and try to see what I could get away with from the US postal system. classifieds were in newspapers. you bought concert tickets at record stores by interacting with the clerk. You worked your ass off making a mix tape and mailing it to a single person.
flash back 30 years.
- The rotary phone had an extra long cord in the house when you needed privacy. Twitter meant a note shaped like a triangle that you flicked at a friend. It hurt when they hit you in the temple. The walkie talkies we bought at the junk store worked 2 blocks apart when on bikes. I would often mail my friend magazine clippings of awesome karate moves and pictures of nunchucks.
My uncle had a CB in his vehicle. In maine, my friend Bill and I would collect bottles around town and lob them into the harbor with a note inside. You mail ordered things by clipping a piece of paper out of a giant catalog by "mail ordering" the thing you wanted.
Who we are as americans and how we talk to each other as people affect each other in both directions. This is not a rant on why technology sucks and why the days of yore ruled the school ... it's an observation on why my 2 personalities duke it out in 2010 (one being a cynic analog hermit and the other a semi-extroverted appreciator of life and technology). What I am discovering is that as time goes on and we all become more technologically advanced with gadgets and apps and shit, I am depressed that the intimacy and anticipation in communication is gone. We call each others phones and are annoyed when it goes straight to voicemail. We wonder if something bad is going on when we don't hear back from a sent email in a couple days. We have the patience of a jackal and the concentration of a toaster oven. Stuff gets deleted as soon as we get it and lets face it ... there is nothing sexy about a harddrive regardless of how big its dick is.
I have letters and mailed art saved in boxes from friends that I will never part with. Immediacy is occasionally a necessity, but it's also the destruction of everything I love about the system I was raised in. Sometimes I like talking on the phone. Sometimes not. Sometimes I don't take calls for days and let it go to voicemail. I have friends I haven't talked to in a year and thats fine. I like getting a letter or a note as an email too. It's not a real letter, but it's an idea. It's so rare because most email is a question or you're a soundboard or somebody wants something from you or has a problem that you will miraculously solve for them. I love emails that tell a simple story or relay and idea or thought in a non linear way. It demands nothing of you. Maybe it's just something that someone spent just a little extra time on that was only meant for you, or maybe it makes you laugh at a really needed time. A deep laugh where 2 people connect. Not a forward of a forward thats just OMG so "funny and interesting LOL".
I guess I relate so much to the post office because it can be savored and physical objects are dying. book sales are down. non-electronic toy sales are down. newspapers are just about dead. and Mike hasn't made me a mix tape in 10 years (I'm guilty as well). With mail, you can talk to people on your own schedule. Things get spaced out and you appreciate the little shit. I get an amazing package in the mail every couple months or so (mike again) and one goes back to the sender from me. I slowly pick at it like creme brulé. It gets slowly devoured and will never end up being sent to the spam folder.
Everything has it's boundaries. Twitter uses only 140 characters and a mix tape is 30 minutes a side.
Real time is a curse.
It's the crushing immediacy and blurred attention span that gets me down.
People spin their mouses scroll wheel an average of 26 feet per day. Everything gets glossed past.
But then again ... I'm just a jaded guy approaching 40.
Mcluhan continues to be right, even if you don't actually read his words in an actual book.
I'm sure this is all debatable.
I'm going to my po box 1574 to check my mail.
to delete ... press 7