Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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In this fast-changing world, Thanksgiving is a nice respite

By Cynthia Oi


Christmas is but a month away, e-mail has one foot in the grave and phone books are even closer to being put in the ground.

Time and technology hurtle by.

I've almost gotten used to e-mail, though I'm still not quite sure why I can't send from one account when interfaced with another and vice versa. I think it has something to do with the computer I'm using at the time. Maybe not.

Now I find out that with Facebook rolling out a new messaging system, its CEO -- who looks like he's 14, 17 at most -- sees e-mail as antiquated, old-tech and about to be trumped by "real-time communication," according to the news reports.

For me, real-time communication means a face-to-face conversation with another human or ringing them up on the telephone.

I use the landline for local calls, the cell for long-distance because of cost.

I do have a cell phone, though the device is so old people don't recognize it as such and regard me with a bit of pity when they figure it out.

One super-techie guy, who himself carries a slim, cool-looking charcoal gray jobbie, said I looked like I was pressing a silver Snickers bar to my ear. (I don't often get calls on it since I don't turn it on unless I'm picking someone up at the airport, and few people know the number.)

Landlines, which are my default device, are considered moldy, with nearly 10 percent being disconnected every year. In fact, cells' prevalence has phone companies abandoning directories, mainly residential white pages, because they don't list cell numbers.

AT&T and Verizon say only 2 percent of customers ask for copies and that most of the printed books end up in the recycling bin.

Though constantly trading old for new is disconcerting, quick-time is the most unsettling. Ask friends and colleagues about why it is that four days before the end of the school year in fifth grade had felt like an eternity but the decade between ages 50 and 60 sped away.

No one can explain. They shake their heads and, like me, rush ahead to the next task at hand, the multitude of incidental and largely inconsequential processes and actions that fill the days and nights.

So here it is, the holiday set aside for traditional consumption of mass quantities of poultry and gravy, stuffing and rice, string bean casserole and pumpkin squares.

The festival of the harvest at present comes down to hunting and gathering in supermarkets and megastores and cooking days ahead, but just as common are ordering the ready-to serve turkey and trimmings from Zippy's or sitting up at a white-cloth restaurant table.

Time also changes tradition.

No matter. For a few hours, an assortment of family members and friends eats, trades stories and opinions, argues and laughs and maybe watches football.

As the individual moments slip away, past and future mingle, then take residence in the surrounding impermanence.

Cynthia Oi can be reached at

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