On the plane home from Boston, I watched a lot of television in order to numb my mind to match my numb ass. It's my technique, and I'm sure that I could do other, more edifying activities. On many other flights, I've written on my laptop or read a great classic. But this trip--what with being slightly to incredibly ill the entire time--I needed the morphine of the Direct TV.
I watched a terrible movie: Fool's Gold. I watched the last, exciting episode of Bravo's Top Chef (spoiler for those of you who haven't seen it------Stephanie won! The first woman Top Chef, oh, joy, oh, who cares!). Then I started in on Sleepless in Seattle. As I was watching I not only noticed how much hair Tom Hanks had and how young Meg Ryan was (and how young I must have been when this was made because Meg Ryan and I are the same age). But then I thought of how everything has changed for us since that movie script was penned.
Tom Hanks would likely not have called into a radio station to talk about his lovelorn-ness. He wouldn not have received thousands of letters from women wanting to help him out with his sleeplessness. No, he would have blogged about it on his own blog or another blog, and then he would have received thousands of responses on that blog. The movie would have been over much faster. And at the end of the movie, when they almost miss--there would have been cell phones, my dears. No tension for the audience about who and when who would show up on the top of the Empire State Building.
"Hi, I'm here. Are you coming?"
"Yeah, I got delayed. I'll be there in five."
So the writer of the movie today, would have had to get rid of the cell phones, and would have had to create another more interesting and feasible way for Tom to declare his sadness to the masses. That movie just wouldn't work with our technology.
And then I thought of how all of our relationships are different now. Many years ago, when my former spouse was a teacher, I remember how I had to wait for certain hours of the day to talk to him. God forbid a child should get ill while he was in class, the secretary having to call him on the school phone, one of those big black intercom-type phones that hung in each classroom. Then he'd have to get a fellow teacher to take his class while he ran to the office to call me back. It was a major ordeal, put a few people out, and made me feel vulnerable--I couldn't get a hold of my husband.
But now? Things would be different. I'd text him the message that took a half an hour for him to get back in 1986--he'd know immediately that one of our children had a fever of 104 degrees and that I was on my way to the hospital.
The mystery and tension is gone, and that's a good thing and a bad thing. We know what people are doing all the time. I get text messages from my boyfriend's girls when they are at work or in class. Michael texts me from meetings. There is really no point of the day that isn't available to us all--where are you? What are you doing? Oh, I'm in church at a wedding. See you in five.
I'm not calling for a return to the days when I worried I would never be able to find my husband. But I'm thinking about how easy we've made it for ourselves to find each other, and sometimes, maybe we shouldn't be so readily found. Maybe there are places where we should be able to hide, escape, ignore.
When I returned home from vacation, I thought of trying to give myself one day free of the computer and cell phone, but I don't know if I can do that. I just might try, though, transporting myself back to 1986 and the days when my whereabouts were sometimes unknown. When I wasn't on all the time, ready to answer any question now, now, now.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org