Pictures are flying all over the place these days. We receive our first images of a newborn grandson before he’s out of the delivery room. Events, images, and people are captured and posted for public viewing on any number of social media sites . My daughter and most of her friends who own a smart phone with camera capability, take more pictures of themselves in a week than I’ve taken of me in my whole life. There is one other big difference: most of their photos seem to have been taken in front of the bathroom mirror with a cell phone prominently displayed like an advertisment for AT&T. Instanteously these images appear and disappear from our small computer screen or even smaller cell phone screen. I remember the first Polaroid camera I owned. It was amazing to watch the picture develop right before my eyes in a matter ot minutes. MINUTES. We would not stand for waiting that long for anything today.
After thinking about it, I’m also guilty as charged. For example, our microwave went out almost two weeks ago. We couldn’t use half of the food in the pantry. Take soup. Open the can of chicken noodle, pour it in a microwave-safe bowl, hit the two minute express button. Presto! It’s SOUP. I remember a long time ago that my mother used a small pot when she made soup, but that was really a hassle.Then there’s left overs…how are we supposed to heat up a day old piece of mushroom pizza? It’s not worth heating up the oven. We tried sticking it in the toaster but lost most of the mushrooms. The repairman said he had to order a part. It must be coming from China where they are not in a hurry about anything.
Then there’s the remote for the television. We have so many channels today on cable that to walk all the way across the floor (probably at least four feet) and stand in front of our 42″ flatscreen to scroll through hundreds of channels is a complete waste of time and energy. The last time we misplaced the t.v. remote, I must have looked for an hour or more. There was supposed to be a great Lifetime movie playing that I wanted to see, and I missed half of it before I discovered the remote under some newspapers in the magazine rack. It’s crazy, but I remember when I was a little girl and we got our first television set that we actually had to walk up to it, turn it on/off and change channels manually. For some reason it didn’t seem to bother anyone then. Can you believe it?
If I want to connect with someone, I just shoot them off an email. Fast, and very personal, especially if you use cute symbols like :). Except that my mother doesn’t do emails. I haven’t sat down and written a letter to her, or anyone, in…I can’t remember when. The last time I saw her she asked for a picture of her great grandchildren. She doesn’t have a smart phone, just a dumb phone with a cord attached. I was thinking that I can’t do my speed walking today anyway because it’s raining, so maybe I could “waste” some time. I will find a pen and some paper, sit down in my rocking chair by the window, write my mother a letter, and include some pictures of the great grandchildren. I smile as I imagine her when it arrives. She will be so happy and surprised to get a letter from me. She will find her letter opener and slide it across the top of the envelope. First, she will take a long time as she looks at each picture so precious to her. Then she will put the pictures down on the kitchen table and unfold my letter and read it slowly again and again. When I finish writing her letter, I might just sit in my rocker, look out the window and savor that image of Mama in my heart… for a long time