Wednesday, April 1, 2009

'Friend' is a verb

Remember the days when we used to actually talk to people - in person? Face to face. In the flesh. Then for the better part of a century we had this wonder called the telephone. When I was a youngster, we had one phone in the house. One. Smack dab in the middle of the traffic flow. There was no such thing as privacy and heaven forbid I should spend more than half an hour talking to someone - my parents would be hollering that I was tying up the line. What if someone had an emergency and needed to reach us??? So if I wanted to have an intimate conversation with anyone, the only way to do that was in person. That required getting in the car and going somewhere.

Then along came computers and e-mail and cell phones and how people communicated began to change rapidly. For the better? In many ways, yes. If someone has a non-urgent question or request for me, they can just e-mail me and I can answer at my leisure. That is soooo liberating. It's like passing Post-It notes back and forth, rather than having a corporate meeting. E-mail also makes it easier to stay in touch with people far, far away, even in different time zones and on different continents.

A couple years ago we finally joined the 21st century at our house and got wireless internet. I knew everybody else in the civilized world had it and I didn't when I kept getting attachments (usually pictures of dogs) that would clog up my connection and kick me off. It was like trying to cram a school bus through a dog door. So when we got the wireless my kids were beside themselves with glee. They could download music, hop around on websites without falling asleep waiting for a page to download, AND... they discovered Facebook. I used to chastise them for 'wasting time' on it when they could be hanging out with living, breathing human beings.

My husband was the first to succumb to the siren call of Facebook. Months later I followed. I'm not into posting on my wall when I change my haircolor, or the dog vomits on the carpet, or if the consistency of my snot has changed during the course of my headcold, but I'm now in touch with old schoolmates, can check up on the nieces and nephews, browse through people's photos at leisure and if, if, IF something slightly exciting happens in my drowsy life, I can let a lot of folks know all at once.

Kind of cool, now that I got the hang of it. What next - Twitter? Oh dear, I don't think I have that much to say.

Last fall, during the Great Windstorm of 2008, our power went out for almost four days. No phone, no electricity or running water and NO INTERNET. I nearly went mad. But I also enjoyed the peace - reading books by kerosene lamplight, talking with my hubby by the chimnea fire under the starlight, and attending to yardwork without any interruptions. The moment the power came back on I was downloading and returning e-mails. I am hopeless.

Until later,



Anita Davison said...

As usual Gemi, a very eloquent account of your life as an internet queen. I recognised myself in almost every line - even the facebook one. When I go and look at my kids' walls they want to know what I'm doing there, but they put cryptic remarks on mine all the time.
Privay is not a parent's perogative - but my daughter did say at the weekend that she has only got to know me since she started reading my blog!
Now I call that a good thing.

N. Gemini Sasson said...

Yes, amazing the things you find out by checking their wall, isn't it??? My kids say we're stalking them. Come to think of it, someone could be stalking me - eek!