A couple of years ago I thought it would be a good idea to get my son an IPad - for purely therapeutic reasons of course. He is autistic and playing games on it is one way he can spend some time without me riding his back. The purchase had nothing to do with the fact that I can now play jewels with friends with my sister 1,000 miles away. Nothing at all.
I’m sure some of you are aware that you can use the camera on the iPad to take a good look at how you might look to others. We recently figured out how to use the Facetime app to talk to family and friends. This is a terrific way to feel connected to people we miss. It is also a fine way to check them out and yourself out while chatting, which often proves to be downright distracting.
Once my sister – and I’ll take this opportunity to let you all know she is my ‘older’ sister – found out how to do this she began calling me up on Facetime nearly every morning. I have to admit sometimes I’m not prepared. My hair is dirty or pulled back and I’m usually wearing a giant t-shirt with pajama pants and I likely have toast crumbs down the front of it all. She’s usually wearing some type of black tunic with her own hair as messy as mine. Once she realized she could get a good look at herself on the screen she was smitten.
“Do you like my hair?” she asked. “It’s falling out because of my thyroid but how do you like the purple streak? It’s cool huh? Oh my God, look at my chins.”
I didn’t respond right away because I was too busy looking at my own double/triple chins. After years of working at a newspaper though, I know enough to tilt my head slightly forward and downward, which makes anyone look much thinner in the face. I have not shown this magic trick to my sister however. I prefer she keeps thinking my face is thinner than hers.
“Nah,” I finally said while eyeballing my own little thumbnail face in the upper right hand corner of the screen. “You look great. I look like a slob.”
“No,” she said. “You’ve got good hair.”
“Not anymore,” I said. “I’ve got nice hands though.”
We went on like this for several minutes never really getting down to the matters we meant to discuss such as our lack of understanding of radio talk show hosts or how much I miss being able to afford a pedicure because I can no longer comfortably reach my own toes. We were so mesmerized by our own images that we couldn’t carry on an intelligent conversation. Once we checked out each other’s pajamas and I showed her how long the hair had grown on my legs over the winter, we decided it was time to hang up and put real clothes on for the day.
I have to say though that Facetime has been a great way to stay connected to each other. Our banal conversations through technology are pretty much the same as what we’d talk about if I were sitting on her sofa in Cincinnati. Only we’d probably share some peanut M&M’s while we talked about our saggy chins and water weight gain. I admit some aspects of technology are pretty awesome. Facetime helps me love my big sister all the more. She’s going to be really, really mad that I called her my “big” sister.