I think the computer age gets a bad rap from people who call themselves “old fashioned” or more personal and sentimental. I just spent about four days without the internet and, let me tell you, it felt like you old fashioned people would feel if you found out that the Pony Express was on vacation. With no offense meant to the lovely little warm place I call my home, I felt like I was totally disconnected from the “real world.”* I couldn’t buy tickets to the Christmas play. I couldn’t book our let-praises-shout-forth-Matt-is-finally-graduating-from-law-school-vacation-celebration reservations. I couldn’t even look up the phone numbers I needed so I could do it all by phone. Matt told me to put together emergency kits for the car due to our “Blizzard Warning,” but I couldn’t do a 30-second online research project about what items should be included. And give me a break, it’s not like I’m going to pack up the kids and go to the library and sort through a card catalog to find an article in a magazine from 1987 about car kits. (So I just resorted to chocolate, latin music CDs and warm socks– I figure if I’m going to freeze to death on the side of the freeway, I might as well be with the things I love.) (I’m kidding. I’m more responsible than that. I got a blanket and flares. And once I can get out of my driveway again, I’ll buy some chocolate.)
I’m rambling. Sorry.
Anyway, my point is: The internet is good. Very good. And it’s not even impersonal. I mean look at you (a person) reading my blog right now. And when you (again, a person) comment on my blog, it’s a tidbit of personal interaction that most likely would not exist in my otherwise scraping-oatmeal-off-the-table-and-forcing-antibiotics-down-screaming-throats-and-drying-wet-gloves-by-the-fire kind of day. It brings unanticipated and pleasant human contact into my day. Some of my friends that live inside this computer are:
- people I met and knew once, but not as well as I would have liked to and yet this virtual world has reunited us and built our friendship stronger,
- people with whom I’ve emailed and even phone-called for advice or to share a funny thought, and I consider them real friends even though we’ve never even laid eyes on each other,
- other people I’ve never met at all, but feel like if we met up at any given moment at the Cheesecake Factory, we could sit there together for hours laughing and talking (and consuming cheesecake unabashedly) as if we’ve known each other for ages, and
- really creepy lurker people who pull up my blog daily just like to look at my profile picture longingly (because who doesn’t fantasize about being a stay-at-home mom with three children who give them adventures like this? Okay, I admit it, there are some unhealthy sides to virtual networking. If you happen to belong to this category, please don’t let me know because I’d like to continue sleeping well at night.)
And I do like getting a nice, handwritten note in the mail now and then, but I don’t think email is impersonal unless the author writes impersonally. Grant entered the technology age this week and wrote his very first email.
Hi granpa I am haveing so much fun with granma I miss you this is my frst leter on the compooter you are my favrit granpa from Grant
I think it’s among the top 10 cutest things I’ve seen in my life. And he was overjoyed when the very next day there was a note back from Grandpa. So I like technology. A lot. And I’d cancel my gym membership, dental cleanings, and insurance on my car before I’d cancel my Internet. Because I’m such a people person, of course.