Today I was going to share my recent Halloween doin’s — the postcard edition I’m working on, the rubber stamp I’d been carving to use in said edition. However, my Halloween cards remain unfinished, due to the stupid cold I find myself encumbered with. I guess I’ll put Halloween on hold until next week.
Instead, I’ll show you something else paper-ish and book-y.
Two weeks ago, I was running to catch the train at Montgomery Station and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a beautiful, old ledger book. Lying face up in the ticket taker’s booth, the ledger appeared to just be hanging out. It seemed like such an anomaly, especially in a San Francisco Muni station. I continued on to the train platform.
I didn’t make it very far.
Turning around, I headed back to the ticket booth. “Can I take a photo of your book?” I breathlessly asked. “I think it’s wonderful and I’d love to have a photo.” I knew that this would most likely lead to a why-would-you-want-to-take-a-photo-of-this? conversation, and I wasn’t let down. “This? It’s just a book,” the employee said disdainfully. “But I think it’s beautiful, ” I repeated. “What do you use it for?”
“We use it to record incidents that go on here in the station. You know, if somebody loses something or we have to call the police.”
“I see. I didn’t realize you still wrote everything down by hand.”
“Some stations do. Some stations don’t.”
It was clear that our conversation was meant to be short lived. I snapped my photos and (again) headed down to the platform. So what if I’d missed my train? Another one would be along shortly. As I waited, I thought about the fact that in this most tech-centric of cities, there was still a train station where notes are handwritten, what a rare thing that is these days.
I wondered when this change away from the handwritten had taken place, had I even noticed that it was occurring? I feel like I’ve been aware of it for sometime now: every month seems to bring a “death of cursive writing” article in my newsfeed, every semester presents a fresh faced group of students who’ve never written a postcard (no joke).
A single person cannot stop the march of technology; this is the way of our world now. An incident like the one above reminds me that there is a balance to be maintained with both our “retro-tech” and our “future-tech”; discovering what that balance is will be different for each person. For me: I like to have a foot in both worlds, able to reach many readers at once via a blog (like this one!) or connecting with people individually through the mail. It is this choice that we have that makes all the difference.
Halloween next week, I promise.