It was then, or rather that experience coupled with my recent refusal to open a selfie, that made me realize that this form of electronic epistle is doomed by its very nature to erode communication and therefore friendship. The rarely resisted impulse to send our latest thrill-filled moment reveals the narcissist in all of us, the failure of empathy, the inability to remember our own feelings of resentment when the time comes for us to unleash an update on the world. In a way, maybe it’s better to send it than to pause and consider, to face the existential question of the limits of love. Could my friends possibly be happy that I’m in Paris? In the abstract, yes, as long as they don’t have to picture me in front of Les Deux Magots. Wiser to wait until you get home and can tell them about the 2½ hours you spent getting through customs at Charles de Gaulle Airport, the hotel room with no WiFi, the Parisian Uber driver who gave you a failing grade, the must-see shows you missed, the bad meals.
So please, no more laughing pictures from Maine or Ireland or Indonesia. No more selfies unless it’s raining or you’re being stopped by a cop or have lost your passport, or you are having a lousy time that only my presence could relieve.