I had this half-hour interaction today with an 87 year-old woman in a Whole Foods. She said you never really figure anything out about life or who you are until you're in your fifties, but you chug along and do the best you can until then anyhow.
She said she's going to die happy, and that no man, including her husband who died of Altzeimers, has ever really done her any wrong. And she said a good measure of happiness is the ability to forget. She lived through the bombing of Frankfurt in 1944. She's probably got some things in her head worth forgetting.
The conversation started with a remark of "I don't understand those things," and a gesture toward my laptop, which had about fifteen windows open. I said I don't understand them as well as I want to. She said they isolate people, gesturing toward a pair of young women on laptops sitting right across from each other, in each others' presence but on other planets.
I said they do sometimes, yes. But then I told her about the friends I have in South America and France and L.A. and San Fransisco and New Orleans who I wouldn't know without those things. And about the friend in Cannes right now who never would have been able to make the film she made without them. She grinned a little, half-understanding, and extended her hand.
"Hildegaard," she said. "What's your name, young man?"