This morning a letter was waiting for me. Not in the post box but right in the middle of my living room floor. Precisely so I couldn’t miss it. It was some late night scribbles my sambo had lovingly written for me.
It’s not the first time. I’ll often find a note on the kitchen table that’s more than a mere shopping list. A hand-written card is an extra-special treat if he’s going away. And once he dedicated a poem to me that was published on the web.
Then there’s my least favourite means of romantic correspondence – when he delves into my make up bag, manages to locate my most expensive lipstick and proceeds to draw love hearts on the bathroom mirror with it. Yet, I still polish it off with a smile rather than a pout.
And that’s because it breathes new life into the widely-held belief that the art of hand-written communication is dying out in the digital world we live in. Well, almost.
Call me old fashioned but let us not forget the feeling of anticipation and excitement when opening an envelope from an admirer. While pen was put to paper, careful consideration went into those chosen words. The sentiments took time to write and can be kept forever.
Compare that to one of today’s preferred means of communication – the text message or SMS. “Thx 4 B ing U. Luv U” doesn’t quite cut it for me. It’s a throw away remark, produced, received and read in seconds. That’s without mentioning my contempt for poor grammar.
The technologically sound Swedes are world leaders in text messaging. Practically, yes I do like the convenience of buying bus tickets with my phone, but personally I’d prefer someone to call and tell me they’re cancelling our dinner date with half a day’s notice.
Keen to maintain their position at the top of the global SMS league, a national competition even allows Swedes to keep their fingers and thumbs nimble.
Swedes and love letters, however, do have a contentious history to share. Written exchanges between Greta Garbo and fellow Swedish actress Mimi Pollack were published in 2005.
The book Djävla Älskade Unge (Bloody Beloved Kid) is a first-hand exposé of their affair during the 1920’s and bi-sexuality, which had largely remained secret.
Earlier this year, 78-year old Swede Gunilla von Post auctioned her collection of love letters and telegrams from John F. Kennedy in the 1950s. For a pricey sum they revealed a passionate fling and his infidelity before becoming US President.
To end this note on a good one, there is the beautiful tale told by Prince Daniel at his wedding to Crown Princess Victoria this year. Before leaving for a month-long official duty overseas, the princess chose to stay up all evening rather than catch up on some sleep. In the morning he found 30 hand-written letters addressed to him – one for every day they would be parted.
A romantic act as such cannot be deleted from memory with a push of a button.