Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

A friend of mine recently moved to Michigan to go to grad school. Before he left, he had a going away party, at which he became exceedingly intoxicated. He walked/danced/stumbled me to my car when I was leaving, and in his drunken state, declared that he wanted to write to me.

"A real letter," he slurred. "That's so ROMANTIC and old-fashioned, don't you think? Like Kerouac! Send me your address and I'll write to you." I agreed, lest he puke on me or pass out under the wheels of my car before I could drive away. I was fairly sure he wouldn't remember any part of our conversation anyways.

The night before he left, I called to say goodbye and he once again promised to write if I sent him my address. I complied, and a few weeks later, a letter - handwritten! - showed up in my mailbox.

If I haven't ever mentioned it, I LOVE MAIL. I go through my mail with an eagle eye each day, sorting it into piles: trash mail (junk mail, mail with other people's names on it, past due bills), shred mail (anything from a credit card company that has my full name on it, because I'm paranoid), interesting mail (sales at my favorite stores, free samples, pornography), and REAL MAIL (the most rare mail of all - something addressed just to me, not machine-generated, from a real person). I even shake out the trash mail just in case a piece of REAL MAIL might be hiding inside of it.

So it was pretty freaking exciting to get the letter. Of course, instead of quickly reciprocating, it took me a month to write him back, because I'm a dick. In the ensuing wait for a second letter from him, I became impatient and had to call, despite our agreement to try the writing thing for the sake of...I don't know, being Luddites? We've since been in touch on Facebook and occasionally over email, but he did FINALLY send me a second letter which arrived today.

While it was typed, instead of scrawled in longhand like the first letter, it elicited the same squealing happiness as before (perhaps even moreso, since the entire thing was actually legible) and I giggled at his stories, imagining him making faces and gesticulating wildly as I read. Is there anything better than a letter from a friend?

My favorite part of the letter would be that he signs off "Sincerely", except that this time he had to use butterfly and bumblebee 41 cent stamps, which made the letter a thousand times funnier. Man, I miss that kid.


hana said...

back in the day, my friend and i used to write letters to each other all the time. now we just email or myspace each other. kinda lame.

ruth said...

You are so lucky. There is truly nothing better than REAL MAIL.

City Elf said...

i actually save all my letters and i re-read them when i need a pick-me-up. i still have letters from family and friends that were sent to me when i was in college.