Each Memorial Day I write a post about our creative, generous friends from We The North and their ingenious, theme-based dinner party. This year on the way into Vancouver, we stopped a mile from the Canadian border crossing, on the Washington side, and went no further. We waited patiently, at first, for 90 minutes before The Sweetie bolted, made a U-turn and headed for home. According to the border wait-time app, we had another 70 minutes until it was our turn to lie about bringing food into Canada.
I hemmed my skirt, polished my boots, washed my hair, brought a gift sack full of new favorites from Trader Joe’s, and was reluctant to bail. But faced with another hour’s wait to cross and heavy holiday traffic into downtown Vancouver, I too was willing to flee. I regret missing the event, not seeing our friends, and giving such short notice to our hosts but there you have it. We were given lemons, but didn’t make lemonade.
Speaking of lemons, the other day the Sweetie and I were wondering about one of our vagabond friends who left the Chicago project early. Where is he now? Is he working, relaxing, snowboarding? Does he still live in California? We looked for him on WhatsApp, Marco Polo, LinkedIn, and Instagram, but no trace. Suddenly Bob had an epiphany—“I’ll call him on the telephone!” He dialed the number (actually, he told Siri to), and our friend answered. He and Bob chatted about work, life, the joys of a good mattress, and exchanged new project information—now we are up-to-date.
I wanted to make amends for bailing on our friends Memorial Day, so I considered texting—way too impersonal; emailing—does anyone even read their emails these days; Facebooking—I don’t have an account and neither do our friends; Snail Mail—who knows if and when a letter will come; so I went with old-school, but satisfying, telephone calls.
In the early days to check in with someone, we hitched up the horses, walked a few miles into town, or started a signal fire; now we can receive the latest information instantly. Today, calling on the phone, sending a letter, or even emailing is somehow old-fashioned. I like the peer-to-peer method, I like not having to squeeze my thoughts into 160 characters, I like seeing or hearing the subtleties of facial or verbal interaction. If I can’t do face-to-face, ear-to-ear will do.