On Skype

15 Apr

Z on webcam with a friend

Z chatting on Skype with a friend

This is Z enjoying Skype.

It’s a webcam picture, that he shot himself, in the throes of one of the sessions of gurning, face-making, and toy-brandishing that enliven his week and keep him in touch with the people he loves.

And it’s joy. He’s talking, I think, to his best friend Fred, back in London. Talking, in this instance, means five minutes of gurning and video-chat followed by endless exchanges of emoticons, gifs and animal noises over Skype messaging.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friends and family since Granny and Grandpa left yesterday. Being apart from Z at an age when he is growing so fast is particularly tough for Grandpa, Z’s father and H.

H, who’s been in his life since before he was born, is chatting to him as I type. Face to face, across 15,000 miles, from a pizzeria in Manila to a desktop in East London.

It feels, although we’ll be seeing them again in a few months, as though I’m taking him away from them. Which, of course, in travelling with him for so long, I am.

But Skype, and the download speeds that support it, has made the experience of longterm travel infinitely less isolating than it would have been a few years previously, when in most of the world one was restricted to long-distance calls on crackly lines with time lags.

Video-calling closes down distances. It has a huge immediacy. You can show your surroundings, see the surroundings of your friends and family, respond to facial expressions as well as verbal cues. Chat almost as you might across the table.

It means that you do, quite literally, see each other. Every Sunday (more or less) in our case. And, no, it’s not the same as stepping into a next door room and saying hi to someone, or yelling up the stairs to them. But it’s contact. Close contact. Far closer than the phone. And a transformative tool par excellence.

3 Responses to “On Skype”

  1. greenie01 April 15, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    Modern technolgy is brilliant isn’t it. Lovely blog.

  2. Jo Beaufoix April 16, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    Wow what a smile, and what a blumming amazing thing you’re doing. I’m a singlemum with a 9 year old and 5 year old and I’m sure all the things you’re doing would blow their minds. Brilliant.
    I hope your travels continue to be wonderful. 😀

    • MummyT April 16, 2010 at 8:58 am #

      Thank you both! We’re en route to Palawan today, to see the world’s longest navigable underground river, do some trekking, and general tropical island stuff…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: