No believe it or why not?

Charles Alexander
By | 2012-06-21T09:00:00-04:00 June 21st, 2012|Opinions|

Parting Glances

It’s 5:30 Friday afternoon. Thinking of BTL co-publishers Jan and Susan in Washington, D.C., I iPhone text a simple message of sharing: “Hugs!” Seconds later Jan cellphone hugs me back.
Jan’s comment: “It’s totally awesome!” Her accompanying picture is a shot of invitees meeting President Obama at the ongoing White House LGBT reception. A stunning moment shared.
Jan is visible in the lower left-hand corner, looking stylish, well dressed for an auspicious, who’d-ever-believe-it-could-happen? (For someone who came out in 1956 like myself, this is truly mind boggling. Pie in the Sky with red-white-and-blue sparkler candles!)
I email back. “I’m in awe – even with this tiny rainbow souvenir.” Incidentally, my last iota of White House contact occurred some 20 years ago. A friend was there for some sort of military honors during Bill Clinton’s administration, and he quietly pocketed sugar packets.
I shan’t mention my friend’s name – just in case having done so might occasion an investigation by the FBI, CIA, or Michigan Republicans – but I treasured that little packet of calories. It carried the White House seal. I’ve been tempted to put it up for e-Bay bid, if only I could locate it among all my studio art.
(If a pastry simulacra of Mother Teresa can earn several eBay thousands, surely a sugar packet from a sticky-fingers Democratic presidency can get high-digit bid response. Monica Lewinsky, who?)
This is the second time in 12 hours that I’ve been high tech zapped. On Thursday night I was sitting next to an architect friend, John, dim-suming in a favorite chinese restaurant when he showed me China photos taken two years ago on a business trip.
He had dozens, and as he highlighted them on his iPad he explained how well he was treated in that remote, little known city. People went out of their way to literally open doors for him. A total stranger, he was treated like visiting royalty.
Then, to my delight and surprise, John brought up a map of China, zeroed in on the province and city where he had stayed, and then the neighborhood where he lived – the apartment building – and also the eight-story architectural center he temporarily worked in. All thousands of miles away. Details clear; and John traced how he walked everywhere in the area. Just like being there. A miraculous techno visit.
I’m also in awe of American-made GPS units with voice overs that give sweet-or-sour commanding directions to wherever one wants to go. I know that satellites are somehow involved in street-by-street pinpointing, but it all seems like magic to me. (Two hundred years ago, it would be condemned as witchcraft.)
Wherever we look, wherever we listen, our modern world is a wonderment of astounding, taken for granted, high tech. What was only dreamed about perhaps in times long, long gone – things that only the fabled walk-on-water gods could perform – is now fact.
And, if far-fetched truth, turned pleasing reality be known, it’s pretty hard to top a gathering of gays, lesbians, T-persons (not T-baggers) shaking hands with the President of the United States. Hugs, Obama! (Yea, verily: Mitt was inconspicuous by his absence.)

About the Author:

Charles Alexander