My friend who has been travelling in India is now at a shopping mall in Dubai and will be back in the States this weekend. I know this because he texted me.
There are times when the technology really amazes me. For the three weeks or so that he has been away, on the other side of the planet, I have pretty well known where he was and what he was up to, via text and cellphone pix and emails.
And what always comes to mind at times like these are John and Abigail Adams. This very odd love match, so important to the American nation, included long periods of separation. Especially when Adams was in Europe. When I think through the details of travel in those days, I am struck not only by the difficulty, the uncertainty, the danger, the real discomfort, but the gaps in communication...the not knowing. Once Adams left Abigail at the front door of their house in Massachusetts and boarded a ship for Europe, she would have been completely in the dark about his whereabouts or conditions --even if he were still alive-- for months. He would have been, and was, equally ignorant about her.
So here they are, the person they loved most in the world absent and distant. And no way to connect or know, either way, between Massachusetts and Paris or Amsterdam, for a couple of months at a time. It's very moving to me.