My dad messages me from his cross-country RV deliveries. He has been fulfilling a life-long dream to be a professional driver since he retired from counseling almost 2 years ago. The texts are quick and sweet. Updates from the road.
He used to tease my sister and me when we would text each other. He would wonder aloud, chuckling, “Couldn’t you have just had that conversation on the phone in less time?”
Then I moved around the world, leaving him and my mom with a new iPod. Actually, leaving it mostly with my dad since my mom is not the most comfortable with new technology. Plus the Facetime is tough since the iPod speaker is not very loud. During conversations my mom is usually asking my dad, “What did she say?” in a stage whisper. Unless they share the earbuds, like Jim and Pam on their first “date” on the American version of “The Office.” Each with a single earbud, they sit side by side on the couch peering into the little iPod screen.
Before I left, on advice of a seasoned international teacher, I set up a local Skype number. Mostly, when my parents are home, we talk on the normal phone–with the speaker on.
But when my dad is on the road, delivering RVs to Quebec, Boston, Fargo . . . he finds a rest stop with wifi. Then drops a text. A bread crumb I receive as a gentle ding and a glowing light by my bedside or sometimes inconspicuously in my backpack while at school.
The kicker? My parents used to be international teachers in Asia. Our family would compose cassette tapes–my sister and I singing silly songs or just chattering into a microphone. We’d mail them across the sea to our grandparents in the US.
A few years ago, I listened to one of the tapes that my grandma had saved. An artifact. An audio snapshot. A relic of our connection. As an adult, I had been living close to my grandparents since I never did as a child. Then I moved around the world–again.
Now my dad’s texts span 12 hours time difference. Yet, an immediate connection. Mundane in the best possible way.