My parents just learned how to use Skype. I practiced with them on my Dad’s birthday last week. (Happy Birthday again Dad!) So far so good– if we can just get Ciocia and my Mom to stay in the webcam frame. They’d just finished up a nice birthday dinner and I said I was jealous. Ciocia disappeared from view and came back with a slice of her meatloaf on a paper plate so I could see it. Something she cooked up after watching a cooking show.
I made an email appointment for them to talk to their niece, Gienia (Geh-niah), in Lithuania today. My mom and aunt and I last saw her in person in 1997, Dad only by photo. So it’s a little more than exciting to get them coordinated.
I seem to appreciate technology much more when I’m connecting my parents to it. I tend to have a ‘Look Mom! It’s magic!’ disposition. She is always surprised about what is possible. Dad keeps up with these things so it’s my mom who stays marveled. For a person who used to call a travel agent and show up in person to procure multi-layered paper stock boarding passes, I revel in telling her that now you can check in at the gate using your phone.
Well, I can’t because as you know, I’m just a few steps up from Michael Douglas’ Wall Street phone. But still the possibility exists!
Sometimes my mom will ask, “Masz wiadomość od Spacebook?” Do you have news from Spacebook?
“Ma, it’s Facebook. My Space is one thing. Facebook is another.”
“Spacebook. Facebook. I don’t know these junks.”
I like the idea of Spacebook so much better. I picture everyone on it floating around like a tethered astronaut in space. Only silence and waving.
I have Facebook and Skype to thank for connecting me with some of my relatives in Poland and Lithuania. Otherwise it’s the slow romantic letter changing hands and making its way onto planes and into letter bags for delivery through a mail slot. I don’t want to see that ever end. But to see a long lost relative face to face on a computer screen feels like magic. What couldn’t be done before is now completely possible. From nothingness to somethingness.
Sometimes I can’t wrap my head around how something so simple can be so historic.