I am sitting in Los Angeles, as the sun rises here. Gchatting, emailing, texting, using the cell phone. I often think of my father’s trips when I was growing up, especially now with Oliver and Phoebe.
When my father traveled in the 1970s and 1980s when I was young, when he went to Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, South America, or even just to New York or, say, Los Angeles, imagine the difference, the sense of isolation.
My father used to write post cards and letters from hotel rooms on the other side of the world. He never called home because between the phone service and the time change and the expense, it wasn’t practical.
Imagine getting on a plane, and not really having any contact at all for a month. As you travel on the other side of the world, taking pictures to be developed later, writing letters that will take weeks to get back.
It must have made the journey more intense, the quiet deeper, the isolation more aware. It was very very different and the impact on me was my father just was gone. He left and he came back and then one time he left. And he didn’t come back.
For years, I had the feeling, and the dreams that he was always out there, somewhere. If the same thing happened today, I don’t think you’d have the same feelings to be honest. The flow of communication would stop. But then it didn’t because it wasn’t there.