January 13, 2003

When Technology Doesn't Care

All the time I was growing up I anticipated the deaths of those around me.

When I'd get a new 3x5 address book and put all my relatives' names and numbers in it, I'd wonder whose name I'd have to scratch out first, I'd weigh the pain ahead of time, figure whose death would hurt the most, start calculating years--I'm 13 now; there's no way Grandma D could still be in my address book when I'm 45--she'd be over 100. So, when will she fall off my pages?

This is how I thought. Still do, although not as obsessively, thanks to some therapy. Still, it doesn't take much for me to leapfrog into the future, into who will be around when... who won't be around by the time... how it will feel when... well, then again, I might die before any of them...

That's what happens when you're six and you enjoy getting the mail from the mailbox, it's something you like to do every day, and then the day after your dad dies, his mail still comes, and the year after he dies, and two years after, and then you're living in a new house and you're 11 years old and mail addressed to him still finds its way into your mailbox, into your hands.

That's what happens when your school records never quite get updated to note that little detail--the dad's name in her records has been dead for five years--and report cards and permission forms still come home with his name on it.

You look at these things you hold and wonder, for crying out loud, when will everyone know that he's gone? And when will I have to stop doing simple tasks without being reminded? How long will this take?

It takes time. Sometimes it takes a long time.

That's why Gary's sensitive technology post hit close to home for me. Intense. Very intense.

I hear you, Gary.

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