I just wrote a "Very Special Holiday" edition of my blog. I wrote it while my children were literally hanging off of me, Georgia around my neck, Ruby around my waist. I wrote it while spooning grits into Georgia’s mouth, wiping grits off of my husband’s expensive overcoat, and navigating a particularly rough tantrum with Ruby. I wrote it while Georgia nursed and Ruby braided my hair. I wrote it while having a conversation about everything Ruby wants for her birthday and while Georgia drew on herself with a marker. I wrote it while promising Ruby that as soon as I was done, we would go on what she calls an Eloise Date: “lunch, a little shopping and a movie,” just the two of us while my mom stayed with Georgia. And then, right as I wrote the ending, right as I told Ruby, “OK, two more minutes and we can go,” the screen on my computer went black. Surely it had Autosaved, I thought, but no. It was gone.
I know no one wants to read a blog about technology failures. It’s right up there with blogs about writer’s block or blogs about a writer’s “process.” (My process is detailed above.) But I don’t have it in me to re-create the whole thing from scratch, not if I am going to make my date with Ruby.
So instead of tearing out my hair, I am going to force myself to say three nice things about technology in the spirit of being thankful this season – and then I am going to go have lunch with Ruby someplace where I can also treat myself to a cocktail and dessert.
When I was 11 and 12, I had two best friends, Morgan and Kelly. We were inseparable. We had sleepovers every weekend where we put on makeup and kissed "90210" posters (Brandon, not Dylan, always) and prank-called boys. We swore we would grow up together and have babies together and live on the same street and never, ever be apart. Of course by our sophomore year of high school, we weren’t friends. Kelly and I at least graduated together, but Morgan was completely out of the picture. For years, I was sad about this, a kind of distant sadness at having lost such a deep childhood bond. In my late 20s, Kelly and I became Facebook friends and patched up whatever bad feelings had ever existed between us. We both wondered, often, about where Morgan was. A few months ago, I got a friend request from someone I didn’t know – but when I clicked on the picture, I knew in an instant it was Morgan. She had gotten married and was about to have a baby. I sent her info to Kelly, and soon we were all chatting on Facebook, remembering the awkward shared nonsense of our early adolescence. Now, Kelly, Morgan, and I all have babies under the age of 2, and even if we don’t live on the same street, we are kind of raising them together. It’s been amazing, and it wouldn’t have happened without technology.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate to mention recipes. I love looking up recipes on the Internet because I can find every single iteration of a recipe, along with reviews and tips from people who have tried them. The first time I tried to cook for Thanksgiving, that stuffing that my sister liked so much, my mom and I sat in the living room of our shotgun duplex on Toulouse Street and paged through cookbooks. Now if I had access to a file of family recipes, that would be one thing, or even a beloved, stained cookbook with oil spots and careful notations in it: “Tried this; added a pinch of nutmeg and cut down the butter. Good!” I actually have a few cookbooks like that from garage sales, and I treasure them. But most of the ones my mom and I had were checked out of the library, and all we could do was speculate as to whether eggs would be gross in stuffing or if that much dried thyme would overpower the other spices. Now as we are planning for Thanksgiving, I can find a recipe and read the reviews out loud to my mom from my laptop. “Hm, this recipe sounds pretty good, but the reviews say it doesn’t thicken up. Wait, one reviewer says she added a little bit of butter and it was perfect.” It’s a small thing, but it gives me a sense of community. (Of course I also like to laugh at the reviews that say, “I substituted margarine for butter, Cheez Whiz for the brie, and canned tuna for the lump crabmeat. It was terrible. 1 star.”)
Ruby is going to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving this year. I was planning to have her, but she really wanted to meet her new cousin, and I couldn’t say no to that. But thanks to technology, I will be able to FaceTime with her on Thanksgiving and show her Georgia’s Thanksgiving outfit and see her in her Thanksgiving outfit. It’s not the same, but it’s better than not seeing her at all.
And a bonus No. 4 because even though I am about to take Ruby on her promised shopping date, I really can’t handle Black Friday: I am thankful for Amazon Prime. Technology that lets me order Crayola Marker Makers and talking Minions without leaving the sofa is truly the very best kind.