It’s late Summer of 2011, and I’m late for my train. I remember this as a classic movie scene, where I’m throwing bags and cases up into the train attendant’s arms, arms pumping as the Amtrak heaves its way out of the station, accelerating much faster than my screaming calf muscles can carry me. Somehow, I pull myself up onto the stairs at the last possible second, waving frantically at the adoring throng on the platform.
In actuality, it was teary and painful, and I sobbed with my head against the smudged window as I watched my dad get sad for second time in my life. I didn’t come up for air until I noticed the person sitting next to me was also listening to The White Album in his headphones, we should talk about it.
I do not like thinking about this scene. It is recorded in my basically-abandoned blog, and that’s really enough for me. I know I left California for New York nearly two years ago. And it is easier and healthier to look forward to the hellos than look upon the goodbyes.
Even though I chose an old timey and romantic way of getting out and moving on, it’s technology that makes those hellos ever more present. Skype, Google+ Hangouts, and FaceTime for iPhones are just a few of the Star Trek-like options we have for keeping in touch with the people left on the train platform. I used to be adamantly against this whole technological scene. I was born in the late 1980’s and came of age as the world wide web, email, and instant messaging became a thing. First texts, then picture texts, then Facebook and Gmail and YouTube and a million more ways to chat.
At first I was hesitant to use all of these outlets of communication, but then Istarted to talk to my long lost loved ones through an LCD screen. Truly, I miss my mommy. I miss my dog. I want to sit in a room with my grandma, not knowing quite what to say. I want to get passed around the Thanksgiving dinner table like a newborn baby or a green bean casserole, ready to be petted, fawned over, imbibed. And using video chat websites can help me feel like I am actually in the room with my family.
My cousins are having babies. My grandma just turned 90. People are growing, and I don’t have to miss the sights as fervently as I miss them. I left my dog, the most beautiful and precious miracle that ever happened in my life, living with my mother. My dog may not actually be the smartest…but she’s the prettiest, and when I give in to the modern age, I get to see her! (And I get to scold my mom and brother for letting her get too fat.) That dog is pure joy on four legs, and I am not so stubborn as to forgo pure joy.
I suppose everybody draws the line somewhere when it comes to this sort of thing. There is the camp of Harder! Better! Faster! Stronger! and then there’s my newspaper reading, bike riding father who rolls his eyes at every mention of Facebook at the other end of the spectrum. There is also a ton of middle ground. If I had to boil down my internet presence to one thing, I’d keep my Skype profile. I’d keep looking to see where my mom moved the couch, or my friend put his new (vintage) Alien poster, or my dog’s silly face. I may not care what my mom thinks of my hair, but I don’t need my grandmother telling me my acne is flaring up or having my ex-boyfriend thinking I let myself go.
The future is now, and when used sparingly, it can enrich, rather than complicate things. Especially when texts from my mom typically read like this: h!! MISss ll over @you111
Miss you too, mama 🙂 Skype me!