Monday, June 15, 2009

Long distance

A friend wrote, asking if I had a Skype account.

I've got one, but no computer cam.

We used Skype a lot when our daughter did study abroad in Italy last year. Skype is incredible.

I still think it funny when I remember long distance calls when I was a kid. I remember how someone who was called long distance was raced to the phone with great urgency. But it was a realistic race: phone rates were horrendously high.

Contrast that with last night, when -- 11:30 p.m. -- I got a call. Caller ID indicated not-US, and it turned out to be a woman I'd seen professionally last year. She was calling to get the name of the guy who did some work on our kitchen 6 years ago. (We had had a conversation about home repairs, and she was asking for her mother-in-law, who lives nearby). But she in turn was calling me from Taiwan, where she and her husbands are short-term missionaries. And the 5 minute call probably cost her -- if I'm guessing from calling card rates I've seen -- maybe 10 or 15 cents.

It's one of those funny things I'd love to be able to go back in time -- say, to 1972! -- and tell people how someone would call from half-way around the world -- it was mid-day Monday there -- to find out a name for a home repair guy. And, even better, how friends and families and lovers all keep in close contact using very inexpensive phone services.

Despite all the crud that goes on, life often gets better. When bad things happen, remember these. And be thankful.

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