A friend recently forwarded me a viral email called “9 Things That Will Disappear in Our Lifetime.” The things:
- The post office
- The check
- The newspaper
- The book
- The landline
- Things you own
Whoever originally wrote this is probably right about 90% of it, but what I find really interesting is the insinuation that the loss of these things is bad.
As a lifelong letter writer, I do think it’s sad that the post office is on its way out, however, I have embraced email like the child I never had, so, I think I’ll probably live. And given my recent experiences with the post office — like the thoughtful package full of handmade things and a handwritten letter which I recently sent a friend, that just flat-out never arrived — I wonder if maybe the post office has already seen its heyday. There are a lot of things the loss of which would be more wildly tragic. Like antibiotics. Or heated seat warmers in cars. And if you never had to wait in another post office line or deal with another surly asshole who works at the post office — would your life really be worse? There’s always FedEx and UPS.
I haven’t read an actual paper newspaper in as long as I can remember. I have an iPad, and I get a lot of my news off Twitter, honestly. I haven’t had a landline in over ten years. Although I do have this old phone that I am using as décor:
I don’t own a television (although I do watch a lot of really, really terrible and mind-numbing television on the Internet and I have to say I don’t see that one going away anytime soon, nor commercials, as they seem to be the backbone of our economy).
Books, though — yeah, that makes me sad. Really sad.
I actually do enjoy reading on my iPad. Apple has this shiz dialed — you can adjust the dimmer so it has the same sheen as an actual book page, and the lettering is adjustable too. It does not bother my eyes, and the tablet is comfortable to hold. I read several books on my iPad when I was in Thailand last fall and I really appreciated not having to lug actual books around with me.
However, I still like to read real books when I can. I have a no-electronics policy in my bedroom (it’s a feng shui faux-Quaker thing) and so when I crawl under my down comforter, quilt and sleeping bag every night with my book that I checked out of the actual brick and mortar library, I am reenacting a ritual that I’ve been engaging in since I was very small. The density of the book, the smell of the pages, the tactile feedback about how far through the story I am… these things all contribute to the experience of getting “lost in the pages.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I read to get away. Reading — especially novels — is the most distracting, imaginative, relaxing experience I have in my life on a regular basis. I can’t imagine a life without books, but honestly, I don’t really expect to have to.
I read this recently in a Rolling Stone interview with George RR Martin, who wrote the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (in other words, Game of Thrones):
Oh — I get asked for book recommendations a lot. Here are my favorite books. I add to this list each time I finish a worthy book. The last one I added: No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. I loved this book of short stories. Miranda July is the best kind of weirdo.