Friday, May 02, 2008

Crazy about Skype


I don't have an iPod or iPhone and I don't have a FaceBook or MySpace page, and I continually feel technologically sluggish and behind, torn between wanting to avoid all of it and compelled to "keep up." It's usually a wrestling match; I don't think my brain is wired for fast changes anymore, and, while it may sound like lame self-justification, I don't think all this stuff is making us better. Every day I face 18-year-olds, (it's customary in university parlance these days to call them "The Millenials") walking around school continually talking on their tinier and tinier phones, It still startles me. If they're walking alone, I sometimes think they're talking to me: I've said something like "Beg your pardon?" until I make out that little ear cocoon. In today's life on the street, I uncomfortably realized the other day, I'm the one who seems crazy in that circumstance: everybody else knows by now that somebody walking along alone, talking loudly, is connected. I wonder: does this make it easier or harder for those hearing other kinds of voices -- the kind not conveyed via satellites?

Anyway, my point is that despite the above disclaimer, I'm crazy about Skype. On my new MacBook, a little green light at the top of the monitor is a tiny camera, and I can make free calls that allow me to show my face to my husband when he's in California. More important, I can see his face. The other day Lynn Rossetto Kaspar said, about the importance of eating together, "the only time most of us look at each other's faces these days is across the table when we're eating." My heart cramped a little: this winter I've been alone too much, and I've missed seeing my beloved's face. Sometimes when his mug pops up on the screen my hand reaches out automatically -- I want to touch him. But seeing him smile -- at my pixilated image, but still some recognizable semblance of me -- it makes my day. Sometimes when we connect I just want to watch him, without saying anything. I just want to take him in and watch him smile at me and say hello.

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