I have reached that age whereby things that happened to me in my youth no longer make sense to young people. Things require back-stories to make sense.
For example: we wrote letters. Lots and lots and lots of letters. It was not just me, either, because I have oodles of letters from friends, families, exchange buddies, pen-pals, you name it. Almost entirely written by hand. One notable exception was a fax, sent by my cousin Erika, to me that was also typewritten. It was a letter (ie: personal) rather than the immediate association one has with faxes these days.*
The other thing “kids today” probably don’t understand is that there was not just no texting “back then,” but long-distance phone calls were crazy expensive. Forget about it entirely if you were trying to call someone out of the country. Long distance calls were an event requiring absolute silence in the house and rapid-fire talking to a set period of time. When Mike phoned me collect from South Africa, it took months to pay off the phone bill. Ah, the good old days.
For all the nostalgia that comes with the homey touch of handwritten letters, there is also this thought: because we all know that we can reach each other quickly, we don’t spend a lot of time worrying about hanging onto our correspondence.** Or, if we do, it does not clog up our storage spaces. I cannot imagine hanging onto an email for 20 years or more. I honestly think this is a benefit, both psychologically and environmentally.
Of course, I do realize that computers have generated far more paper than the paper they were intended to rid us of (odd as that sounds). And they put the post office out of business. Actually, come to think of it, I think I single-handedly put them out of business when I stopped writing letters.
Day 180 scorecard: 900 down, 925 to go <– so close to convergence…can you feel it?
* or, the associations I have, at least which are: 1. oh, this must have been sent by someone over 50, or, 2. oh, this must have been sent by a bank (mortgages are always faxed to lawyers. I do not understand), or 3. this must be some kind of official document sent by someone who either does not have access to a scanner, does not know how to use a scanner, or who is somehow unable to access/use the Internet, OR 4. this must be from Legal Aid. Perhaps these assumptions are only part of my world view, but they account for at least 99% of the faxes I have received in my life.
** it behooves me to remind anyone embroiled in anything legal to hang on to your correspondence because you never know when you might need it for evidence or to give context to the other parties’ bits of correspondence s/he saved from you.