Staring out of the window at work today I watched three guys pose in various positions -inside a trashcan, halfway up a light pole – to have their picture taken. After each flash they would crowd around the cameraman and gaze at the pixelated version of themselves gracing the back of the digital camera. What came to mind was a “study” (I use the term loosely these days) that was comparing the generations…generations Y and X, boomers and so on.


Their focus was on the immediacy that drives gen Ys (those 20 somethings). it talked bout a generation raised on CDs so they never had to bother with even fast forwarding, cell phones so they didn’t have to wait till they got home to call, email so they didn’t have to wait for snail mail…and staring at these three guys I think of cameras where you don’t have to wait the lone hour it takes to get them printed these days (while my folks had to wait more than a week back in their day!).


And I’m guilty of it too…wondering why the heck someone isn’t answering their cell phone despite my personal philosophy being, “if I wanted you with me I would have invited you (tongue in cheek of course)”.


And in some ways it doesn’t matter if it is good or useful or even counter productive given that, well…it is what it is. Still I remember the anticipation of waiting for pictures to be printed…the disappointment of a missed shot…the unexpected joy of a moment I captured without realizing.


The other day I burned a CD for S. a friend and I mused that the skill and art of it was diminished when you no longer have to gauge how many songs will fit and how much space to put before and after. the program I burn my CDs thinks through that for me. All I do now is order the songs so they make some kind of sense. Now, what used to be a labour of love is amazingly easy.


Don’t get me wrong…I love faster and smaller for most things. I adore blogging and email, mp3 players that fit into my back pocket with some 700 songs nestled all tiny within. At the same time…I miss conversations that are not interrupted by a txt msg ringing its way through. I miss photos that surprise me because I forgot I’d taken that particular one. And I still appreciate the rare and exquisite pleasure of a letter, hand written and handled, greeting me from my mailbox. There is something human in it…like a hug from an old friend, both reassuring and tangible.

1 Comment on out of cyberspace

  1. T.Marie says:

    We believe time is limited. It's no more limited than it was for generations before us. Yet, they took the time to talk without the background noise of the television pulling our attenton away. Oh, I miss hand-written letters, too. Someone taking the time to pull out pen and paper and write…that's special. Even with this blog, I still write in a journal. That's partly because I still don't feel comfortable opening up someplace as public as the blog. And I enjoy the privacy and quiet of writing about myself for myself. It's pure selfishness, I know. But I believe we all need that. Take the time. Cut out the need for immediacy. We all need to be patient, and slow down.

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