I’m watching this period movie – and it really is that, tho it’s not all that old. It’s got a great cast. Set in NYC and it stars Meg Ryan and it’s her kind of rom–com (had that phrase even been coined by ’98?) But it has two elements that really place it in time past: It’s NYC, pre-911. That’s important. That kind of horror was then unimaginable…so there is a peacefulness, an absence of foreboding.

And it defines time and space in a narrow window of tech innocence: the emergence of AOL and email and chat rooms and…An ancestor of apps and dating sites; that brief period when skills of written self-expression and perceived anonymity generated online courtships, in a structured way…much as courtships in decades or centuries past had been conducted. Once by mail. Except stamps and envelopes and mailboxes and time passed between exchanges ran smack into IMMEDIACY. A keyboard, a screen, an internet connection.

All of which has evolved into texting and sexting and facechats and Tinder and…but during this narrow slice of time in the late 90’s, humanity embraced this new medium. So, no longer the bar or the wedding party or the fix-up or the hook up…but suddenly a path for wooing that was entirely new. And for some, entirely addictive. For a nonce, a way for people who loved words and expression to discover each other.

20 years ago. “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” That jingle still resonates for some of your parents, youngun’s. It implied Possibility…That memory will remain resonant, an historic siren call from the technological tsunami that engulfs us…and continues to expand. 😉


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