I read this article weeks ago, and have been meaning to write about it ever since. Tonight at dinner with friends, it came up in conversation, giving me just the reminder I needed.
The article is about 25 things that are disappearing from American life. On the list are things like answering machines, the Yellow Pages, dial-up Internet access, cameras that use film--all very interesting, and things that were absolutely of great importance to me at points in time in my life. The two that I was saddest to see on the list? Hand-written letters, and Chesapeake Bay blue crabs.
Now, it's true that I haven't written an actual hand-written letter in many years, but that's because I'm a card sender, and my hand-written notes tend to be inside those. Still, the thought that technology has done away with something that I find to be so utterly romantic caused me to sigh deeply.
And as for the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, it's really impossible to grow up in Baltimore, the child of someone who grew up in Baltimore, and not fret over thinking that the day will come when people will no longer know the joy that is the summer social event known here as eating steamed (Maryland) crabs. For us, it's as American as apple pie, and it's painful to realize that something I believe every one of us thought would always be available simply won't be.
And while many of the items on the list were things I nodded my head about, simultaneously thinking about its far better replacement, these two made me think of all the things I must be taking entirely for granted. Like crabs and letters, for instance. Others I've thought of that might not survive current or not-so-distantly available technology or lifestyle changes are movie theatres, bookstores, libraries--and frankly, that's where I stopped--I simply didn't want to consider more.
In Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather wrote. "Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things." As inevitable as all change is, I think she's absolutely right. Although I absolutely love some change, some of the rest of it just isn't lovable.