As I write and post this piece I am riding on a comfortable bus (cramped for my frame but otherwise comfortable) traveling north from Washington DC to New York. I have had one phone conversation with Cheryl since I got on the bus. I could Skype her right now but that would annoy my fellow travelers. The point is that the people I love can travel anywhere in the world and I can talk to them at any time I choose. Or should I say anytime we choose; they do not always answer my calls, especially my favorite-youngest daughter. On the other hand, I am the one who often leaves my phone in the truck. And thanks to skype we can talk for “free.”
When Cheryl and I first married in 1974 we could not afford a phone. We went every Friday evening to a local convenience store and called our parents collect. When we did get a phone months later, Cheryl’s mother got even; she called us collect for years. Collect calls were quite expensive so we would accept the call, talk a minute, hang up and call them back direct, saving a little money. The only problem was that Thelma didn’t want to go with the plan.
In 1988 I made my first trip to India. In order to make arrangements with my host I had to call the neighborhood post office and arrange for a runner to go to my friend’s house to tell him the time I planned to call back so that he could be at the post office. Only the extremely wealthy could afford phones in their homes. When I returned in 2008 everyone appeared to be talking on a cell phone just like here in the States.
We have multiple mediums of communication available twenty four hours a day at very little if any extra cost. I find this very comforting. I am never far from the voice and face of the people I love. For this I am very thankful. I hope they are working on leg room for travelers next.
Somewhere on US 301 in Maryland (I Think)
June 9, 2010