As a follow-on to recent discussion about the paper accoutrements of pre-digital life, I sent my mother to the post office in the freezing cold to buy me 100 self-adhesive stamps today for my new year cards. OK, she was going anyway and I did give her money and it really wasn’t that cold, but you get the idea. One hundred stamps might well be the last I ever buy, however. I’ve been reviewing my list of those nice or naughty enough to merit a new year card, and I have postal addresses for a scant 40% of them. I’ve received a few holiday cards already and mined those for return addresses. There are the people at work – or who have left that place of work – for whom I never acquired postal details. There are the people whose “we’ve moved” notices I foolishly discarded. I blame myself for poor database maintenance, but I also blame digital life. Asking for a postal address seems almost awkwardly intrusive and suggestive, like asking for a clothing size in order to buy an unwelcome gift.
What now? I’ve had some success using internet phonebook type sites to suss out postal addresses, I’ve asked a few people outright, I’m sending a couple of cards to business addresses when I don’t have homes. Should I create an electronic version of my traditional paper card and simply email the placeless digerati in my life? Seems like throwing in the towel, much like I feel about the flimsy drugstore produced photo-cards with the holiday borders wrapped around the cute kids, pets and families.
I guess time will tell. I really want paper to win this one, but I think I see the writing on the virtual walls.