Provided that plans proceed as intended, Saturday mail might be a thing of the past starting August, 2013.
Losing one day of mail might not seem like that big of deal to most people. However, if you are as avid a lover of getting traditional mail — letters from friends and family, cards, invitations, etc. — as I am, then this change is just another reminder of how impatient society is becoming.
For journalists and other professionals who rely on quick responses from sources halfway across the globe, email, social media and text messaging is like a gift from above. But for the rest of the world, those expected, quick responses seem to be lowering people’s ability to really connect to friends and family from across distances.
When was the last time you called home and had a meaningful, long conversation with one of your parents? I know for me, it is difficult to talk to my family for long periods of time on our cellphones — the connection gets lost, static makes it difficult to hear, no one really has the time to talk for an hour, and I tend to mumble a lot.
So, instead of calling every day, I shoot my family a text message or comment on a Facebook post, telling myself that it is just as significant as a lengthy telephone call or letter.
While technology does increase the amount of ways we can contact each other, it also makes us lazy, and it causes us to lose that connection we have with others.
I know that before I got Facebook, before I had a phone to text people, and before I really used my email addresses, I wrote letters on a weekly basis. I wrote to several international friends, family members who did not live close by, and even those friends who were right down the street.
We grew closer through printed confessions that we could not admit out loud in fear of passerby’s taking a piece of our secrets. We wrote down our ideas and actually expressed them with clarity. We connected with each other, knowing that the other person took the time to compose this beautifully written letter.
Now, I only ever write to my parents and my grandmother, who does not really have text messaging or an email address to correspond with. The deep secrets shared between friends through traditional mail do not really exist anymore, and neither does the surprise of getting a letter from my friends in Korea, nor the anticipation of waiting for an answer about a party from my best friend down the street.
Saturday postal service’s ending does not guarantee the cessation of mail altogether, but it does remind me of how much society has changed, and how much some of us need to write home.