Through the year of Covid-19 isolation and our move to the country, punctuated by a never ending to-do list of home improvements, time was in short supply and I felt bad that I hadn’t reached out more often to check in on friends and family.
Last Christmas, I decided to resume my usual habit of sending out Christmas cards, despite a couple of years of tapering, given that the popularity of sending cards seemed to be on the decline overall. I couldn’t think of a better year to send Christmas cards, at least to mitigate my guilt.
But in doing so came the realization of the less-than-organized state of my contacts list. Somehow, different devices had different lists and sometimes had different or outdated information. It was time for a clean-up.
As much as it might be considered prehistoric by today’s standards, I missed the days of having all that in a neat and tidy address book… a paper one.
This is not to say that I think that electronic contacts are bad, I just find them to be more work to keep up to date.
I don’t know why the software seems to want to create a contact every time I send a once-in-a-lifetime email to a company, and then I can never seem to get rid of it. But when I change a friend’s contact info, it doesn’t seem to sync automatically to the other devices. I don’t get it.
But try finding a paper address book today. Where we used to find them pretty much everywhere and at a variety of price points, today it seems to be something reserved for book, stationery and office supply stores.
After perusing the options online, I stumbled upon one that was everything I was looking for in an address book, but it was marked “large print”. I kept looking, thinking I wasn’t ready for “large print” anything. But I ended up ordering it anyway, thinking that this was probably the last time I’d be buying one in this lifetime anyway, and that probably in the future, the large print might come in handy.
When it arrived, I unwrapped it and oohed and aahed at the beauty of this simple little address book, breathing a sigh of relief at the irrefutable organization it will bring to my contacts list.
But as I looked at it more closely, frankly, the “large print” of the placeholders for names, addresses and phone numbers didn’t seem all that large to me. In another Goldilocks moment, I thought it actually was quite right.
Then came the reluctant admission that despite having celebrated my 55th birthday and actually started investigating where I might qualify for a senior’s discount, my aging eyes were indeed ready for large print.
But then came the reality check of the recent struggles I have had. When reading the teeny tiny instructions on a new brand of antihistamines I was trying, I was forced to find the magnifying glass I still had packed away somewhere in our mountain of boxes.
Or the fact that at work, when I am writing something in MS Word, I am usually in 150% mode (or more depending on the day), with the larger text, just because it seems less fatiguing for the eyes if I am in a prolonged writing session.
And even when it came to reading, I recently bought a book from Amazon, not realizing it was in large print, and actually enjoyed the reading experience, breezing through it at a quick and comfortable pace.
I even admit that with the eReader on my iPad, when my eyes have been tired after staring at a computer screen all day, I did gravitate toward larger print to make the reading more comfortable.
What I would give to go back to those days when one of my elders would hand me something and say “You have good eyes…” and ask me to read it because the print was too small.
I am that elder now. When did that happen?
At the last visit with the eye doctor, she mentioned that I probably wouldn’t need reading glasses for the rest of my life, I just need glasses for distance. I think that she is technically correct as I can read most books comfortably, regardless of the print size. But when it comes to what feels comfortable, a little bigger seems to be a little better for me.
I think the operative word in her message was “need”… I wouldn’t NEED reading glasses, but there is nothing that says I might not WANT a little assistance every now and then.
As I started transferring my friends’ and family’s addresses to my “large print” address book, I came to accept that when tools are available to make everyday tasks more comfortable, why wouldn’t we use them?
The next time I see something marked “large print”, I may very well check it out first and feel a deep sense of gratitude for the offering.
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