What is Snail Mail….here is a reminder before I get started. Straight from Wikipedia:
Snail mail or smail (from snail + mail) is a dysphemistic retronym—named after the snail with its slow speed—used to refer to letters and missives carried by conventional postal delivery services. The phrase refers to the lag-time between dispatch of a letter and its receipt, versus the virtually instantaneous dispatch and delivery of its electronic equivalent, e-mail.
Call me a little old fashioned….but I have been struggling recently with the way technology has changed the way relationships are, or the way they “used” to be. When I was growing up I wrote ‘thank you’ notes to friends who came to my slumber parties and brought gifts. I wrote notes to my grandparents for birthdays and the twenty dollars Maw Maw sent me in the mail. More recently I have been invited to children’s birthday parties and have been amazed that a thank you was never said nor did I receive a note. And to top it off, I haven’t heard from the parents of these children until they needed or wanted something. Not because I am a friend, but because they are not true friends.
A few months ago a guy I work with had a surprise baby shower at work. As usual I pitched in, helped decorate, and went in with someone else to get him a very nice gift. And wouldn’t you know….he hand wrote a thank you note and put it in my box. It was very personal, too. He took the time himself, not his wife whom (never met her), and wrote this wonderful thank you note that was specific to me. You just do not see that these days. I kept the note in my car and looked at about every other day for several weeks when I was stopped in traffic. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Since then I have moved and when digging through my desk and cleaning out junk I found a hand written letter from Maw Maw from about six years ago. It was the way “she” communicated and showed her love when I couldn’t see her in person. Memories and those warm and fuzzy feelings just flood in when I see something like this that I have had tucked away. I miss her. She sent the letter and then died about one month later. I have kept the letter and put it with all of my other greeting cards and “SNAIL MAIL” that I have received over the years. You would think that I would get more excited over other things, but there is nothing like going home at the end of the day and checking your mail to find a card or letter from someone you love.
So to top things off, text messaging as a way to send these messages and attempt to build relationships has done nothing but just simply turn me off to texting. If I do not respond to a text almost immediately or even within an hour or two, I am getting another text stating, “I hope you are ok….just checking on you.” I am in my 30s and building relationships with people through texting is not my style. I have had this issue with the dating scene for several years now, and I will not build a relationship with anyone just based on texts. A guy told me recently that it isn’t just men dong the texting, that it is women too. Well, after communicating that texting was not the way I was going to communicate 95% of the time he continued to text. I finally got upset about it because after communicating that I would like to have conversations face to face and hear his voice he seemed to never hear that it was something I needed in the relationship. It can be misleading for one, two it leads to miscommunication, and three it takes out the real conversations that need to happen in person. Anyone can text something, but to actually talk about it is another thing. I’d much rather receive a voice mail and call the person back than have a full-blown texting battle for a few hours when it could be a ten minute conversation and be done with it. I see it as a battle because it can get confusing, can possibly lead to frustration, and even lead to other problems or hurt feelings. What happens when it comes time to have an actual conversation face to face with someone and texting is the only form of communication that has occurred about 95% of the time?? I’ve been there and done that. I’d much rather spend time with someone face to face and have more serious conversations where I can hear someone’s voice than hiding behind a text. Don’t get me wrong…I like texts that let me know someone is thinking about me or a random ‘Miss you’ ‘What you doin?’ ‘I wanna see you.’ ‘Thinkin’ about you and wanted to say hi.’ A little flirting is fun sometimes too….but I still say the Check Yes or No letters we had in grade school that we read as we looked across the room with a smile on our face and that first time you have a good conversation at the coffee shop, over dinner, or sitting on the couch watching a football game cannot be touched by the age of texting.
I just often wonder what the world might be like if people did not have the option of texting and actually had to work at communicating. What would we be like if we went back to the way things were 30 years ago and wrote letters, sent cards, and had manners the way were supposedly were taught by actually saying thank you or being there for someone other than behind a phone screen or computer. I will always be a fan of Snail Mail.