I just ended a conversation with my dear friend Alka, who lives in Delhi. We had a face-to-face chat on Skype with my iPad, which I held up to my own mug as she sat in front of her computer in the wee hours of the morning in India.
It’s not that I don’t love keeping up with my friends via email, or instant-messaging on gmail and Facebook, or even by phone, but this was better. She asked me a question; I could just nod my answer. She’d tell me something funny, and I could smile. I thought she looked beautiful sitting there. What’s even more interesting is that our conversation was almost as good as one we might have during one of our official Girls’ Night Out excursions, albeit without the margaritas.
I even got to show her the three dresses I bought as potential outfits for Beth’s wedding this weekend. She voted for the brown one, especially when I showed her the pumps – incredibly sexy – that matched the dress perfectly.
And not long ago, Joanna and I had a “face time” chat on my iPad and her iPhone. She was in Thailand and I was visiting my mother in upstate New York. When she called, my brother and sister-in-law had stopped by the house, so we all got to stick our faces in and say hello.
Joanna looked tan and happy, and when we were all ready to sign off, I gave the iPad screen a little kiss. I’d like to think that it won’t be long before I can actually wrap my arms around my daughter in Beijing, but for now, this kind of technology is pretty wonderful, especially for a person who is getting ready to move halfway around the world. If my friends can feel this close and instantly available for some laughs and catching up, I’m happy.
At the same time, we had a visit this weekend from Billy and Elaine, college friends who live near Philadelphia and who decided to pop down for the weekend and take advantage of our limbo. Even with all the technology available to us, it’s good to be able to spend time with old friends, walking the streets of Alexandria in the rain, eating soup in a corner shop, and having the kind of conversation where nothing is forced and the laughs come easy.
I’m lucky that I have all kinds: friends who have no qualms about jumping in the car for a spontaneous visit, those who stifle their yawns as we chat late into the Indian night, and those who live right here in town and still want to see me.