Most people know I’m in a strange, old-fashioned category of people who still write letters. There is actually a line in my budget labeled, “Postage.” I buy stamps in bulk. One of my most frequent complaints is that the US Postal Service is supposed to persevere through any kind of weather, but will shut down for every single minor official holiday.
But I’ve seen the light.
That’s right, friends and blog readers. I have repented of my letter-writing ways. From now on, I will use only electronic communication (and then only when absolutely necessary). Here are a few good reasons to let the art of letter-writing die.
|Sorry, summer pen pals. It's all over now. Thanks for writing, though.|
I can fire off a Facebook message in seconds. And we all know that efficiency is the single best measurement of communication. Maybe the only measurement. If you send someone a letter, you have to grab paper and a pencil, get their address, form actual words with your own handwriting, and buy a stamp. An incredible waste of your time (not to mention the rising cost of postage). Also, with hand-written letters, there’s this general idea that you should put thought into what you’re saying instead of just reacting in as few characters as possible, Twitter-style. That has to go. In fact, I think all of our communication would be better if we got right the point and skipped any personal information and small talk. Because who are we trying to fool? No one cares, and we’re wasting their precious time.
Let’s face it, people: the only reason we write letters is because we want letters back. Or maybe even packages filled with stuff. It’s manipulative, and it puts undo pressure on the recipient to respond (or feel judged by your letter-writing wrath). This needs to stop, and a return to electronic communication is the only solution. Because, I mean, no one ever sent a text or posted on someone’s Facebook wall for selfish reasons, right? I know I never have.
I have had it up to here with individuality and creativity. What I want is a standard white background with the default font. Emoticons might even be pushing it. There’s something about the fact that your text could have been sent to a thousand other people and mean the same thing that is comforting. I used to mail letters on the back of paper plates, cereal boxes, paint chips, coffee filters, or cut-up pages from a children’s book. And then I realized, why bother perpetuating the idea that people are individuals when our digital age clearly proves they aren’t? Conformity can be good too, you know. Bring on the email society.
Even phrases like “write back soon” are declarations of neediness and co-dependency. Writing letters creates an expectation for an unhealthy amount of vulnerability. Sure, you can see pretty much my entire life and personality on my social media sites. But expecting me to actually reveal to you and you alone how I’m doing and what I’ve been up too…that’s totally unreasonable. Friendship has its place, but that place is in a comfortable mass-mailed mob with only a vague idea of my relationship status or religious beliefs, but with detailed information on what my dream wedding will be like, how I like to pose in pictures, and what I think about the royal family from a country I don’t live in. This allows me to control my life and be the independent woman that I should be, without unnecessary attachments that can be painful or difficult. Unlike statuses, letters can’t be deleted, and the friends you make in the real world can’t be blocked, even when they get whiny or draining or hard to love.
So, there it is, people. I’m sure you’re stunned by my logic, which comes from the fact that I’m now a thoroughly independent, cutting-edge, completely un-narrow-minded communicator. I don’t need you to comment on this blog. I don’t need you to respond to the electronic messages I send.
I don’t need you at all. Not anymore.
Except maybe if anyone out there wants to buy some stamps from me. I have a few dozen left to get rid of.