Once upon a time, in an acting class at Lansing Community College a boy named Treadwell and I were assigned to a scene study. I don’t know what the play was, or what set us off, but for some cosmic or chemical reason, we couldn’t look at each other without busting into giggles. Even when we averted our eyes, the sound of one of us trying to breathe, or utter a line, reduced us both to sweaty, face-cramping, pants-peeing hysterics.
Not a bad way for a friendship to begin.
Eventually I moved away and got married a couple of times. Treadwell moved to New York and fell in love with a Swede or Dane or something named Dougas. I never felt totally comfortable with the absence of an L in Dougas’s name. And when he carted my pal Treadwell across the world to live in Germany, I felt my suspicions of his L-less-ness were utterly justified.
For a few years, like 12 or 20, Treadwell came to visit once a year or so. His english got worse as his German improved. He started putting his words in the wrong order. By then he and Dougas had become hot-shot Psycho-Drama-Therapists holding workshops all over Europe and Scandinavia. Treadwell was too busy to come to California, and I had too many babies and other excuses to go to Germany, where everything they said sounded like, "Put the Jews in the oven!" to me.
All we had was the telephone and e-mail and we both got lazier about even using those. Dougas died, Treadwell got sick. Months would pass. Many months.
But: I SAW TREADWELL TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS!!!!!!
Not because either of us got off our asses, but thanks to the grand, glorious, miraculous, generous, brilliant invention of SKYPE!
It wasn't just his disembodied voice on the phone. But his beautiful face! In motion! With actual Treadwell-esque expressions! His cigarette smoke curling in real time! He held up his new dog for me to meet and I showed him mine. He showed me his most recent paintings, and I showed him I still had the one he painted for me ages ago. I saw his new mustache and the way he plays with it. And there was the tattoo I’d forgotten about on his wrist. His smile. His blue blue eyes. And, of course, his incomparable Treadwell laugh.
So, whatever nasty things I may have said against technology in the past, I take it ALL back.