Texting for the holidays
December 27, 2006
Aspen, CO ColoradoFlorida Governor Jeb Bush’s official portrait includes a BlackBerry. He put it in his picture to honor the state’s first accessibly mobile government.Maybe it’s not his government that is now so accessible. Maybe it’s just us.Thinking of sending something to someone this time of year used to mean getting in the car (or walking to a store in pedestrian-friendly Aspen), braving holiday crowds, spending money, wrapping gifts, driving (or schlepping bags across town on foot) to the post office, standing in line with other happy senders, talking to our favorite Aspen characters behind the counter, yada yada.Or, in the case of some in Aspen, sending the help to do it.Now, as e-mail surpasses snail mail and texting trumps e-mail, think-it, send-it holiday cheer is faster than drunk white girls acting stupid on Girls Gone Wild.Truthiness, et al, regular mail still means something. We all love receiving love regardless of the path it takes to our heart. Or inbox. Even a hardly simple art-form – creative Christmas cards with paper ballet pop-ups, cardboard comedy, entire stage productions jumping out of the fold – works, delighting the most hardened holiday heart, breaking through blues to lift a spirit.E-mailing joy isn’t bad, either. It’s better than nothing. This year, via e-mail, I got a dancing elf with the sender’s face, jingle jokes, photo attachments and Christmas video clips. All G-rated.Holiday e-mail is especially handy when the last known address for a 30-year friend is an e-mail address. People move. The Internet doesn’t. You don’t even have to move your computer in and out of the gray bins to get your messages. Store contacts and e-mail online, log on to a host’s computer and in come and out go your e-mail greetings. (Just don’t forget to delete your warmth from your host’s hard-drive.)But while some still send holiday cheer and business operations via USPS or e-mail, my BlackBerry says many now prefer to text their love.You know, the package is still stuck in Denver. The e-mail is waiting for you when you next log on. So, SMS Xmas.On Christmas morning, there were a number of bells ringing in my BlackBerry Bonnie inbox from people all over the world. Some of whom were on the hill, presumably perched in the most perfect position on the planet, able to see with their own eyes a breathtaking landscape much more interesting than a mobile LED screen.Sitting in Poppycock’s, drooling over oatmeal pancakes, listening to a bitter counter waitress, enjoying a day off and diner white noise to write, I must have sent a dozen SMS messages, delighting in the counter mobility to reach out and text, eat pancakes and drink someone else’s coffee all at the same time.So much for mistletoe. It’s now mistle-text.It’s actually very convenient. Wonderful to have mobile connectivity and love in touch from anywhere. But, as SMS one-ups e-mail and e-mail betters mail, will we lose touch with the warmth of a holiday hug or the joy the holiday spirit is meant to embrace?After the texts, e-mails and eggnog are deleted and depleted, let’s embrace each other with long hugs all year long. Make Christmas, Hanukkah and your birthday, anyone’s birthday every day.You never know when it might be someone’s last run.Bonnie Behrend is an Aspen resident. Editor’s note: Soapbox runs weekly on the Sunday opinion page. This spot is a forum for valley residents to comment on local topics. If you’d like to contribute, contact Naomi Havlen at The Aspen Times at 925-3414, extension 17624 or e-mail email@example.com.
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