Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Technology and civility

I was listening to Leo Laporte (http://leoville.com/) this last weekend.  The one thing I remember him talking about was his surprise at receiving a letter from a fan of the show.  Not only was it handwritten, it was written in cursive.

Leo wondered if there was a need for cursive anymore.  He didn't ask if there was a need for handwritten notes anymore, but it would be the next logical place to go.  I will admit that it is much easier to pick up the phone to call or text, or to send an email of thanks, to announce something, invite, or just say a simple hello.

But, I have been thinking about the loss of something that I don't know if enough people are noticing. 

I have seen my dad's birth certificate.  He was born in 1937 and the certificate looked like it was handwritten calligraphy.  The birth certificates of my children, my husband and myself are just typed out forms.  I receive Christmas cards via email.  They just aren't the same.  I love having the cards hanging up on my wall during Advent and Christmas for the whole family to enjoy and read. 

I think about the letters that I have from my grandmother, who died over 10 years ago.  I cherish the letters that I have from her.  I love re-reading them.  My husband was was in the Army for much of our engagement.  I remember how I lived for those letters.  During basic training we were only able to talk on the phone on Sundays.  I have them all put away in a special box. 

Don't get me wrong.  Voicemail and Skype and the rest of technology have their place.  I have a voicemail from my dad, who died five years ago this month.  He calls me every three weeks.  I love hearing his voice.  I wish that I had been able to Skype with my husband when he was in basic training and later in the First Gulf War. 

But, if we can't take the time to write a simple note, what does that say about us as a society?