Friend and fellow photographer Joe (https://www.jwsmithphoto.com) wrote me a letter. This wasn’t some email or message over social media. It was a good old actual letter requiring a postage stamp. More on that in a minute.
Joe and I have many similar interests, including our photography, reading, and music. It was my post about the Most Overrated Musicians And Bands Of All Time that really stressed our friendship.
Joe, is a big fan of Steely Dan, and they rated high on my overrated list. This was trouble!
Joe has done as well adjusting to isolation as anybody. So when he let me know he was going to send a letter, I was ecstatic.
Joe has an excellent blog post (among many others), about the importance of printing and physically archiving your digital images, because there is no guarantee they will be around digitally in fifty years. This has had a great impact on how I think about my work. So his analog letter sounded like a great idea.
Here at home, I came to find that while Work From Home is fantastic, I often want to unplug after the work day is done. My work computer and my hobby computer are the same at the moment. The office chair I use is the same. My desk is the same. It occurred to me how much I miss having an unconnected analog life. I miss the 1990’s.
Letters To Friends
It was my turn to write Joe a letter back. I sat down and wrote it out of my notebook. I write such precise print (from years of drafting classes), and I’ve long lost the muscle memory for cursive. It wasn’t long before I got writer’s cramp.
Then an issue happened. I had just used my last stamp for something else! What do I do?
I really wasn’t in the mood to go to the Post Office and deal with the lines of people, inevitably closer than 6 feet apart.
I had a trick when I moved out on my own in the late 90s and was dirt poor. You see, I would just reverse the names, and then put the envelope in the mail with no stamp. It would be “Return To Sender,” except it would be returned to the person I wanted to receive the envelope. This worked ALL THE TIME. So I decided that Joe would be my attempt to do this in 2020.
So what happened? The postal carrier put the envelope right back in my mailbox, even without the stamp. What a shame! My letter to Joe never made it to him.
Joe, I promise to get some stamps at some point when we don’t have a coronavirus going around!
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.