It seems insignificant, a simple thirteen-letter post to acknowledge something that happened decades ago. Perhaps some debate existed as to whether or not to bother typing it, the five-second act coming with an attendant anxiety – will it seem fabricated, or obligated or just lame?
We live in a digitized world, where human connection now exists in abbreviated texts and status posts, where keeping touch is more likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome than a sore jaw, where it feels impossible to halt the hyper-stimulating jackhammer of technology in search of some CNS downtime.
And that’s where the 13 letters come into play, because what took five seconds on your end vibrated with history on mine. Each brief post evoked a glass of French wine over a beachside dinner, a long forgotten (and unresolved :)) crush upon a high school girl, a post-tennis match conversation, a sub-terra-firma writer’s meeting where one’s output might have conjured a smile, a long stroll through a foreign city with a local whose desire to breach the cultural gap displayed humanity’s superlative qualities, and hundreds of other memories adrift in the dusty cerebral attic. Those recollections issue forth like old photos, the blurred edges faded and cracked and resonating with the sort of sentimentality that makes a grown man’s eyes well up.
A lifetime ago, people wrote letters, rode horses or trains to old friends, and then settled in for a week. A generation ago, they’d send a Fedex, make a phone call, and pop by for coffee. Today we are down to two words, thirteen letters, launched into cyberspace to land upon some rich nerd’s website so we can feel connected. I have no idea what the future holds, but, for this day of wonderful reminiscence, I’d like to send eight of my own letters to all of you.