It’s 2012. People can text, Twitter, share their lives on Facebook and You Tube, and I have a pen pal. Pen pal. Yes, really. I have a person who I write letters to. Letters, you know those long notes written on paper that start off with salutations like Dear so-and-so and end with Sincerely, Me so-and-so. It must seem like an ancient practice to write letters instead of typing on a computer and then hitting the Send button. I write with an actual pen on paper, stick the paper into an envelope, put a stamp on the envelope and mail the sucker out into a blue thingy called a mailbox.
Maybe it’s the writer in me, but everything just seems more interesting in a letter. You have the reader’s complete attention. There are no pesky scrolling advertisements or Chatroom reminders popping up to serve as distractions. In a letter, I can express with reckless abandon just how it felt to walk to the laundromat, pass by trees along the way, step on a crack without breaking my mother’s back, put my clothes into a washing machine and walk away from the machine instead of stare at the swirling action inside it for 30 minutes until the clothes are clean.
(Why do people stare at washing machines? Whenever I go to the laundromat, I always see people staring blankly at washing machines. It’s not TV. It’s not a stimulating display activated to serve as entertainment. The swirling action won’t ever change its direction. It’s going to swirl in a clockwise motion until it’s done. I swear. If you look away, it’s not going to suddenly spin all counter-clockwise on you. Trust me. So kindly stop staring at washing machines! I’m serious. I hate it when I see people doing that. It creeps me out. It looks like they’re obsessed or something. They’re in some sort of trance and while they’re in this weird state, something odd happens that causes socks all around to come out as singles instead of in pairs the way they originally went in.)
But I digress. Back to letter writing. I write letters to fill pages with sincere hellos, this is what I did, this is the real me in print (or script or cursive, however you like to say it) for you to read about and no one else. (Unless you decide to show the letter to someone else which I’m sure is in direct violation of pen pal etiquette. Or not. I don’t know.) I do know that when I tried to upgrade the form of correspondence with my pen pal to texting, it came out like this............
“Hi. How r u? I’m ok. ttyl”
Somehow that didn’t feel as eloquent as the four page letter it replaced.