My friends, tonight I took one step into what used to be the future but is now today. (Or maybe a couple of years ago – sometimes I’m a late bloomer.) I mentioned recently that I’d signed up for Skype. I have friends in other states/countries whom I’d like to communicate with, and Skype’s free phone calls are attractive for that endeavor. On top of that, the video phone application is very interesting, though I wasn’t sure I’d use it. The potential awkward factor was just too high to put it into practice very often.
Remember – videophones were the stuff of our childhoods, a seeming impossibility that would never be available to the regular folk, if at all. So it’s hard getting used to the fact that the technology not only exists, but it exists basically free of charge (ignoring the cost of your computer, internet connectivity and electricity). That’s fucking AMAZING.
Amazing, yet I hadn’t done anything with Skype other than sign up for an account. Didn’t even know how to use the thing. Then, just a half hour ago, I was just searching for this song (because it’s been stuck in my head ALL day for some reason, and I thought listening to it might exorcise it) (it didn’t, for the record) when a little box popped up on my screen telling me that my friend Dennis was calling me via Skype. I didn’t know what to do and didn’t realize I was even logged on. Should I click accept? But I’m sitting here with not a lot of clothes on and it’s late and I’m drinking red wine and not wearing makeup and my hair is piled on top of my head and my teeth are probably red from the wine and I’ve got the tired face and…oh, wait. It’s Dennis. He doesn’t give a shit and has seen me in worse condition. So I clicked accept.
And then the technology of my youth, the thing that seemed like it would never happen in my lifetime, was happening in my lifetime. And it wasn’t awkward at all. I mean, after we went through the social ritual of me apologizing for looking like cat’s ass and him apologizing for…wait, he didn’t apologize for anything. Gah, we were playing gender stereotypes. How pedestrian. Once we got over the initial “what the fuck is this technology?” aspect, we had a normal conversation. More heightened than a phone conversation and as close to talking in person as you can get without actually talking in person. The only slightly off-putting thing is that you don’t ever make eye contact. You’re both looking at the other person’s image on the screen, instead of your little built in camera, so it looks like each person is looking at the other person’s neck. But you adapt.
I’m excited to do it again, though next time I’ll put on a shirt.
[side note: I was wearing a shirt. I just wasn’t wearing pants. But the little camera only shoots to slightly below shoulder level, so it was okay.]
[Dennis – I was wearing pants. Just kidding.]