Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter and Technology

It's dark outside. I'm draped over my coffee cup, the dogs are draped over the sofas, and snow is draped over everything else. Winter is here and it's not going away anytime soon.

The bright spot of the day happened at 6:15 AM. The world is not going to end after all, despite the constant updates from Channel 6.

Hope arrived in a small, white car without four-wheel-drive or even chains as far as I could tell. Headlights loomed on a vehicle driven erratically, weaving back and forth and stopping periodically as it approached. It slid to the curb in front of our house, stopped for a moment, and then, wheels crunching ice-crusted snow, drove on.

It was the newspaper delivery, the guy with the Bend Bulletin, a person to whom, in this economy, a few extra bucks from this delivery might mean everything.

At that moment, it suddenly seemed that life was possible again, that we could emerge from our snow-laden warrens and get on with things.

Somehow, I don't get the same feeling reading The Oregonian or the Bulletin or even the New York Times online.

At a time when the print editions of newspapers are an endangered species this was a timely reminder that the old-fashioned, hands-on paper is a lot more user-friendly, a lot more human, than that bright, electronic product that shows up on-line with the ease a mouse click.

Not that there aren't advantages to technology. But it marks a different style of personal communications. Email is not a letter. Facebook is not a visit. Twitter is not a phone call. And is not really a newspaper.

I suppose the same was said when paper, or maybe papyrus, was invented. Not the same as the old stone tablets. You don't need a whole village to deliver the newspaper.

Still, in a time of cold and darkness, those early morning headlights brought cheer and a human presence, hope for a brighter day, and the certainty that, with a bit of determination, anything is possible.



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