By fiifi DZANSI
We need more organic human connection.
When I took the above photo of post boxes at the general post office in downtown Accra, I felt how obsolete post offices have become in recent years.
The nostalgia almost choked me.
People have moved light-years away from writing letters. Now we call, text or email. And everything happens digitally and so fast.
New tech replaces an old one.
Back in the heydays of the post office, we queued for several minutes to get our chance to post letters. Because life there was a busy one.
It took many days, weeks or even months to receive letters, but it was worth waiting. We peeled stamps, wet the gluey part a bit with saliva and stuck them on envelopes before tossing them in a huge box, hoping they got delivered on time.
Some disappeared in transit, while others landed in the wrong hands. Again, a few were returned for bearing incorrect addresses. At least the latter brought some closure.
Letters had this human connection. They touched every aspect of the soul. You could feel, taste, smell a message in your hand.
Some girlfriends used perfumed inks to write and sealed their letters with the gloss on their lips. Such words were kept close to the heart, in the breast pocket.
A young man placed a letter on his chest in bed with tears streaking down his cheeks. Maybe he got dumped, or perhaps it was the longing for more love.
For me, it’s the process of writing (not typing) that awes me. You get to be in sync with your thoughts and emotions.
As you move the pen in such a swirl, you perceive your inner voice fluttering, descending from above to come rushing through your veins and muscles onto a paper.
Words begin to form from mere alphabetic letters and take a seat beside each other. Like printing from a computer. Just that you feel every bit of this process.
In the end, there’re elegantly dressed bits and pieces of thoughts adorning a page.
To pour your inner self on lines on paper through indelible ink is organic and human. It allowed the presence of a person far away to be felt, something you can’t get from a video call today.
Furthermore, the imperfection of a cancelled word, or the carelessness of words provocatively squatting on lines, expose our fallibility and give away what’s unsaid.
Letters are so precious. We keep them in our safes to this day and hang some on our walls.
Their ability to touch the heart cannot be matched by any modern tech.