Once upon a time, if someone was going away on a trip everyone made sure to see them before they left. It made sense. Travel was slow, communications across distances were limited and even slower, and the perils to which one could fall victim ranged from pneumonia to pirates.
Basically, people wanted to see the departing just in case they became the departed. There was a decent chance, especially if someone was crossing an ocean, that you might never see them again. (Not counting transportation, since, really, that was kind of the point, as far as the British Empire was concerned, anyway.)
I wonder if there was a similar air of “just in case” when pregnant women got close to their due dates? Somehow I suspect not. Certainly back then childbirth was at least as dangerous, though death from it was not uncommon, and men generally remarried pretty promptly.
Aaaaanyway, the travel thing. What’s interesting to me is that we still do it. In a day and age when we can circumnavigate the globe faster than the earth’s rotation, and where we can get internet access in the most remote jungles, people still need to connect before someone goes away. Granted, pneumonia and pirates still exist, though the threat is somewhat diluted these days, at least in much of the world.
Even if my family and friends see me weekly, hell, daily, you gotta get together, or at least talk on the phone, before departure. Just in case. Gotta exchange the standard pleasantries: “Are you packed yet?”, “Have a great time!”, “Love you!”, “Please don’t forget to feed the fish…”
Of course, for the technorati, our level of connectedness exceeds anything that’s ever existed before, with the possible exception of conjoined twins. Computers and phones at home, computers and phones in our pockets or purses, computers and phones in cafes. Frankly, if I didn’t hear from Sherry at least half a dozen times a day, I’d start to worry (unless I knew she was in meetings or something).
Sometimes you gotta unplug, though. Bitstream withdrawal is good for you. I took my laptop when I went to San Francisco, for a number of reasons, but not to Ireland, and it won’t be going to France.
Good, then, that Sherry and I travel together. No phone, no lights, no motorcars, as it were, so I don’t have to worry about not hearing from her. 🙂
That said, I’m sure if we were to encounter pneumonia or pirates, I’d find a way to send word home…