Tuesday, May 5, 2009

When it really needs to be real

Picking up a prescription at the drug store this evening I overheard the pharmacy tech talking to a coworker about her upcoming graduation. She will receive a college degree but because she took most of her classes online due to her work schedule. she's apparently been told her graduation ceremony will be online as well.

Not good enough, she said. She did real work for that degree, she wants to walk across the real stage, shake somebody's real hand, pick up a real diploma and hear the cheers of her real friends and family.

That got me to thinking. There's plenty of stuff I used to do in the real world that I now accomplish in front of a computer screen. Bill-paying, for one. Research for another -- both on topics I need to learn more about, and products I want to buy. Shopping -- that's a big one, at least for some things. I still want to try on clothes in the store, but I haven't been in a bookstore or a library in ages, because everything I used to find there, I now can get online.

But the morning newspaper? I like hearing it thump on the sidewalk before dawn, and I like holding it, scanning the headlines and sipping my coffee before the workday begins. Yeah, I'm old. I know it makes more environmental sense to read the news online, and I know it doesn't much matter what I like, there aren't enough of me to sustain the newspaper's business model. But I like the real newspaper.

I like real cards and letters. I like email, too, and I love being able to touch base with my family through text messages. But kids, if you're reading this, know that I want a real Mother's Day card, with a real note in your real handwriting. And a real hug.

It's fun watching YouTube videos, but I like being present at real concerts. I like chatting with friends and colleagues on Facebook, and I'm sure if I ever tried Second Life, I'd find it intriguing. but that can't beat an evening in the company of friends in the flesh, with a real burger, chips and beer.

Through blogs I can read about experiences I can barely imagine, like the family friend (and follower of these words) who writes so eloquently about living and working in Haiti. Her words paint poignant, breathtaking images. But I'm pretty sure it's not like the real thing, and I'm thinking her parents back in Kansas agree it's not like having their sweet daughter close by.

Those are things that really need to be real for me.

What about you?

Oh, and to the pharmacy tech at Walgreens -- I agree with you. Make 'em let you walk across that stage. You've earned the real thing.

1 comment:

Emily said...

and sometimes - ever so rarely - those technological experiences in our lives lead to something new and real. We went to a party last night (even though we were exhausted from our day at the Earth Fest and Fiesta KC) of some friends that I think we never would have met if it hadn't been for Twitter or Facebook. It's refreshing to know that that's possible, even if it isn't the norm.

Oh, and we're thinking of resubscribing to the newspaper.