Friday, December 19, 2008

Nobody Asks For Your Address Anymore

I was browsing through the Gifts section at Powerbooks Greenbelt and on one of the shelves,I saw a bunch of nifty Address Books on display.Address Books. Who in this day and age of SMS and e-mail still uses Address Books? 

I remember a time when I used to have one.It was the size of a small pocketbook, hardbound and lilac, with a printed painting of a little girl bent over a vase of roses.It had those tabs on the edges which organized contacts alphabetically and made it convenient to locate names and phone numbers when needed. I remember being meticulous about writing in that address book with a felt-tip pen, making sure my penmanship was clear. I still have that address book now, its pages yellowed with age and dust. It has of course been out of commission since I graduated from high school. Back then, I wrote down complete home addresses and/or home phone numbers. Today all my personal and business contacts are stored in a virtual phonebook. Alphabetically arranged and contact numbers keyed in eleven digits. A sense of nostalgia came upon me as I skimmed through the blank lined pages of those address books on the shelf. I wondered, who would get one of these? Nobody asks for your address anymore. Not your postal address at least. Which brings me to letter-writing. I can't remember the last time I wrote a handwritten letter and sent it via snail mail. Probably around the same time my address book was still in use. Today, we log into our e-mail accounts, compose, type in recepient's e-mail address and press Send. 

I wonder how the stationery industry is doing in this day and age of e-mail and paperless offices. It's extremely convenient, fast and less destructive to rainforests and getting virtual letters are great. However, there's a different thrill to seeing an envelope addressed to you from a loved one, tearing it open and unfolding the handwritten letter it contains. It's so personal and...soulful. 

Letter-writing is becoming a lost practice.It used to be that you gathered experiences and stories and wrote about them to friends faraway.Now you can give them blow-by-blow accounts as life happens to you or soon thereafter. Modern technology has done so much to keep us connected and that is just awesome. But there's nothing like the human touch - be it in the form of a hug or a handwritten note.

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