Sometimes I engage in Skype-conversations with my mother, as many sons do. The intellectual heights of these vary, as is the case for most conversations. Sometimes bringing little more than a comparative analysis of the weather situation in Karlstad and London, other times I get a review of her bike ride to work. Sometimes my replies provide little more than one word answers, followed by “let’s see” or “I don’t know”. Other times they deliver an actual depth and personal a stake, the kind of conversations you looked forward to have with your parents when you were younger and depended on them.
Sometimes Skype acts up, cutting in and out like a flicking light bulb. Plenty of confused “hello” and “can you hear me?” follows. At these moments, when the smooth technology on my smooth Ipad doesn’t agree with me, I sometimes, for a very brief period, wonder how it all works. How I can sit in my London flat, with my slim Apple device, and talk to my mom, in my Swedish home town, in front of another flat looking thing. Even if the value of that conversation sometimes delivers little more than a sense of connection, which of course has its own value, some would say even greater than the intellectual kind. The ones which compress the geographical distance so it feels no greater than a screen away. As someone entirely unfamiliar with the back-end of all the technology I surround myself with, it’s quite impressive, to use an understated British expression.
Until Skype messes up that is, immediately turning me into a child looking for a parent who suddenly disappeared. Somewhere on the other side a conversation about the weather falls on deaf ears, and the distance is reinstated, just as quickly as it had once disappeared.