So my sister finally got me around to hooking up Skype and I have to admit, it is kinda nice to be able to see my family when I'm listening to them talk. They, unfortunately, can't hear us because somehow in this super clean and organized maison, the microphone got stepped on and now only picks up sounds resonating from deep space.
It's a funny thing communicating by video phone. As much as it wants to be like being there in person, it's not. Sure, I watch my brother-in-law pour a cup of coffee and clean his glasses but it's just not the same as standing there next to him, smelling that coffee and spitting on the lenses for him.
Plus, truth be told, when I'm using Skype, I don't think I'm really looking at them. I'm looking at me in that little screen, seeing what my hair looks like, how fat my face is, and if any of the underpants hanging on the radiators are visible. I'm reminded of a section from Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, where, in his future based novel, he talks about the end of the video phone.
Basically, he writes that people really liked the idea of seeing the person they were talking to but in reality, a video call meant that they were no longer able to do those little side things they liked to do when talking on a regular phone. See, it's easy when on a regular phone to listen and still pick your feet or change a nappy or have shots of vodka, the whole time the person you are talking to thinks you are still giving them your undivided attention.
Wallace goes into this further by saying that people ended up buying a type of mask to put in front of the camera so that they gave off the impression of still listening to the conversation when really they had buggered off to the toilet. He continues to expound on this and in the end, he writes that people were spending huge amounts of money to have a mask that was perfect in every sense just so they could get back to cutting their toe nails in peace. I'm not doing his writing justice, so just trust me and read the book. Sure, it's 1079 pages long, but it's worth it. Every single word.
But back to Skype...
Now, since I like picking my feet just as much as anybody and I only really clean the house while on the phone (right, Kelly?) I'm not sure how well Skype and I are going to get along. But what I do know is that Skype and cousins is a match made in heaven.
Plunking Mini-Husband, Bubba-Love and The Princess in front of the video phone while their cousins in the United States make faces, do jumping jacks, and sing the national anthem are good solid reasons why I'm going to make sure we keep that Skype link handy.
Wallace got it right where adults are concerned, but I'm not sure the kid mask market would have been such a rousing success. Who needs toes when you've got an audience?