our next-door neighbor in france, jean-luc, has never owned a computer, and when asked whether he ever misses having email, he tends to wave an invisible blanket up and down in front of himself and ask, “what’s wrong with smoke signals?” today, my husband received a first email from jean-luc, who received a computer for christmas, and who has relented and decided to join the 21st century, although his attitude about life belongs so beautifully in any number of previous centuries. just seeing jean-luc’s name on a computer screen this afternoon, one month into tax season, in the middle of a minnesota winter, was as evocative for steve as a plate of bright silver sardines, fresh from the mediterranean. jean-luc’s bittersweet subject line read, “the end of smoke signals.”


mediterranean sea near valras plage, france

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