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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Technology Exceeds the Speed Limit

Sisters at cabin we rented in Maine, July 2014.
It's amazing. Little foster sister begs to do FaceTime on my iPhone with Figgy. We're in our bedroom, ready to read an African fairy tale about a princess known for her beautiful hair, and Fig is in her nice NYC apartment with her two roommates--all three full-time college students.

It's pouring outside our windows. And just like that, the two can visit sister to sister. The little one, in her PJs, can ask to see all three roomies and their rooms, plus the salad one of them is eating. Fig can appear in her flannel shirt, hair in a bun ,and ask to see her "puppy," who is lying exhausted in a heap and actually 10 1/2 years old. This is worlds different from the late 1970s, when Sis was in the Peace Corps in Western Samoa and I was a high school junior, taping Uncle Anthony at our Quaker-lace-topped dining room table and mailing the slim cassette off to the island.

Likewise, I can click on the Barneys New York website Tuesday morning to order a pristine white tube of Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Facial Wash* [made in Japan] and it can arrive at my doorstep the next morning with free ground shopping. Just in time to cleanse and pamper my tired skin.

Technology can be dangerous--in terms of oversaturation, social pressure and pedophiles--but it can be downright miraculous, too. 

Good night.

1. Worked hard.
2. Washed face, applied moisturizer, going to sleep. 

*It's expensive, $45 per tube. But the sales associate at the counter on Barneys beauty floor said she uses it and her skin was GORGEOUS. Plus, you need just a tiny squiggle to lather up your whole face. My first tube has lasted for months. Perhaps because I don't wash my face as often as I should, but when I do, it feels soft and pampered.


  1. It is miraculous!

    I would buy 20 blue air letters at a time- the kind that would fold over onto themselves, no envelope needed, stamp printed on, light, almost tissue paper, and sit down and address them to my sister in then-Zaire all at once. They lived in my brief case, and every couple of days I would write something trivial about my everyday life, at lunch at work, or on an airplane (I was traveling for work all the time), and drop it in a mailbox. She got them in batches, and said everyday boring US life was what she wanted to hear about.

    We had 3 overseas phone calls in her four years there. Now, when her husband goes back to visit, he texts several times a day.

  2. Nan, I LOVE that you would carry the blue air letters in your briefcase and send Mary everyday updates, and that she said that is exactly what she wanted to read!!! I rememeber those blue air letters, too. And I don't know if we ever talked to Sis on the phone for those two years--maybe my Mom or Dad did.....i have to ask Sis....I missed her. thanks for writing, as always. love, alice

  3. ugh. I just lost my comment. Why does that happen? Anyway... One summer when Farhan was in Moscow when we were in college, I started a letter every Monday on those onion-skin-thin sheets and wrote journal style until Saturday when I mailed it and then started a new one again. He did the same.

    The benefit of the old ways is having those letters now to read and keep. I fear that much of our communication today is like a puff of smoke, here and then gone.

    There is a thrill, however, in the immediacy of connection with a loved one who is far away. When Yas was abroad in Morocco, I loved FaceTiming with her. She would be sitting a pretty courtyard with a long flowing (culutrally sensitive) skirt and her signature dangling earrings and we could literaly hear the birds in her garden.

  4. Kim...thanks for the note. That is so beautiful, and so romantic, that you still can read those letters between you and F. now. I love that the two of you did that!!! Also, I love the note about Yas and the dangling earrings and the garden birds. That is just so cool. Love, Alice

  5. P.S. My beautiful Aunt Peggy, married to my mom's youngest brother, saved his love letters and her daughter, my beautiful cousin Veronica, would sometimes show me the bundle and we would be awed!!!!