Just a few minutes ago, I hung up the phone from talking to an old friend of mine, who is currently working out side of London.
When I say ‘hung up’, I meant I touched the screen in my fancy iPhone to turn off the connection we had using FaceTime. We had talked about an hour, regarding the British socialized medical system (she hates it) and why you don’t see much evidence of orthodontics, our dogs and how much they shed or don’t shed (including turning my phone’s camera orientation around so she could see where Ripley and Jake were sleeping), the fancy kitchen that comes with her rented flat and that she only knows how to fry eggs, what train schedule I should take when I visit next month, how to train cats to use doggie doors. Nothing really. And because we already have internet connections, the phone call was essentially…free. Houston to London, for an hour, for free.
When I was a young girl, and my dad was in the Air Force, we lived quite a distance from my grandparents. I vaguely remember my mother writing and receiving letters. At one time, we owned one of these:
Our family would talk on the tape, taking turns, and then mail the tape off. We would receive tapes from my grandparents, my grandmother’s familiar voice sounding so “hick” to my ears that had become accustomed to rapid fire nasal voices from California or Montana. There would be frequent additions from my aunts, and sometimes my little cousins. I seemed to remember my long-dead great grandfather singing something, maybe “O My Darling Clementine”. It was a way to keep in touch, because visits were rare and phone calls so expensive that they were saved for Christmas, or death announcements.
My sons have fancy smart phones, but to them, calling is a bother. They prefer to text. Or have me send them a message via their Facebook accounts, because they’ll get a notification. We’ve had a couple conference calls, when I needed to tell them the same information and didn’t want to repeat myself.
Maybe their children will have teleporters.