All the different ways life has become

I remember receiving letters and the writer had perfumed the paper. Before I even opened the envelope I was in some way already with her. What happens with emails?  I wonder, what happens. I touch the keyboard of my computer as I open a message, but that touch is so familiar it goes undetected unless I remind myself to notice – and wheres the fun in that? A message is presented to me from behind glass: on my phone, which I hold in my hand, or on the screen of my laptop; and with it, always a web of connections and escapes.
        Do I really remember holding a letter, sitting at a window, in the sun, at a table in a café in Paris? Do I remember the softness of the paper and the scent of a perfume, and an arrangement of objects on the table: a pen, a ring and a postcard from the other side of the world? Or do I picture this flatly as I see my email messages, and look for the idiosyncrasies which make a message feel special to me? An arrangement of words and characters, maybe kisses, at the end. Gaps between paragraphs or a single cloud of words, one edge, almost always the left one, cut sheerly.
        Has something happened to the way I remember, and what does that mean about how I love?
        Another love: I can think of a cricket match and the race and blur of a bowler dismissing  a batsman. A slow motion replay of the bowler. The ball barely visible and the stumps exploding. I saw a clip of a cricket broadcast last week and realised how much of what I was seeing I never saw when I was learning to love the game. And I couldn’t love it as I do if I got to know it like that: dissected and suspended in moments that broke apart the blur, the motion. All that urge to look, and why? If I studied a face like that I would still never know the person looking at me. I would need to see them move, hear them speak, feel them alive.
        All that attention to work something out – when I know, for me, the main thing about cricket for me remains the grass. The smell and the feel of the grass. After playing a game I’d walk bare-footed across the pitch, always. I’d stand on the square and feel the strange carpet of grass underneath me, remembering what had happened and breathing the memory in, as I did with letters.
        Smell and touch, and a different attention to detail.  There’s a shape to this piece of writing which doesn’t come from what happens behind a screen, electronically; maybe something like smoke. I’d smoke a cigarette reading letters. I also know, as my father was an electrical engineer, and my car caught fire once in Scotland, that electrical circuits smell of caramel before they burn, and I prefer electric to electronic.

2 Replies to “All the different ways life has become”

  1. I actually came by your blog from your next post, “Return to Fantasy Island” but it’s this post that really stood out to me; I absolutely loved the way it was written. As someone else with an interest in Psychology (BSc myself) I was eager to see if you touched on this kind of element. It occurred to me after that perhaps all Blogs do, in some way, being memoirs of the human experience, but I just love the way you dissected the difference between older and more modern communication; how little it means to send/receive an email sometimes; how little, in fact, this comment will mean… Just being a typed and clicked away. I’m very interested in following your blog and will be keeping an eye on it!

    1. Thanks Shaun. I really appreciate you reading me. Life’s so full of differences that get overlooked; I saw a film last year called Eden that already seems to be about somewhere so distantly submerged in the past … although it’s about Paris in the late 1990s, around the time I was there for a while.

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