I have said before that no matter where I am in the world, I miss someone I love. Because I have lived in three countries and have spent my adult life being a traveller, I am fortunate to have forged lasting relationships world over. Of course, many of those I love are travellers themselves, and are scattered to the winds. It is somewhat corny, but highly appropriate that the ‘world wide web’ is my primary tool for keeping the threads of these relationships intact. I may not be able to make last minute dinner plans with these loved ones, but these threads are as important to my life as the relationships with those close by.
First thing every morning, after the wake-up-make-the-bed-visit-the-bathroom thing, I greet my cat, Jessie, and switch on my computer. Throughout my getting ready routine, I check my inboxes (yes, there are several) to see who on the other side of the world is doing what. Jessie does her yoga at my feet while I fill her in on the lives of my loved ones. Sometimes I laugh too loudly for her sensitive ears, and she glares at me and skulks off.
While world news bleat from the television, I flick between several web pages and catch up on the news that matters to me more.
Facebook brings the latest escapades of my American, Canadian and European comrades (plus Geraldine in Peru and Christine in South Africa), pics from my interstate friends, the latest ass-whipping from my Scrabulous opponents, and a poke from Darion. (I once asked Darion to ‘Quit poking me!’ but soon took it back, because I suspect it is a sign of affection.)
Inboxes bearing emails from far-off loved ones, bring as much happiness as a fruitful mailbox did 20 years ago. And when I see my mum or sis on IM, I know we can have a quick chat just to touch base.
I love getting an international sms – even those that come at 3 in the morning, as every text I ever get from Sharon, my Irish friend, does.
I indulge in interstate text messages daily. I will zap a ‘must see’ message to Dad and Gail about a program we all like. Dad sends me footie scores, or an update on where he and Gail are having a fabulous lunch. I will tell Mum I hope her day goes well. And she always replies with an ‘I love you’.
As well as the web and the mobile phone, there is a device that sits in my living room on its very own table, and is connected to the wall by a cord. It rings from time to time, and the cat and I look at each other and wonder what that sound is. We then realise it is the telephone, and I rush to answer it, knowing it will be my mum, my dad, my friend Mich (who now lives in OUTER Sydney, and has become one of my long distance loved ones), or Suzi in London.
Actually Suzi called the other night, and although I haven’t seen her since this time last year, and she now lives in London, she still feels close. She is my doppelganger in life, with parallels and likenesses in numbers too great to name. Even though she is literally on the other side of the world, when she calls our conversations are like those I have with friends I see all the time.
And most importantly, there is the actual ‘long distance relationship’ I have forged with Ben since October ’06. Because we met overseas and live in different countries, all of these forms of communication have become the lifeblood of our relationship. We see each other as often and for as long as we can, but when we can’t physically be together, we still feature heavily in each other’s daily life. Phone calls, emails, sms, IM sustain us as a couple while we’re apart. We can can fill hours of air time talking about, well, anything and everything. And nothing. Sometimes, it is nonsense, which is hellishly fun.
None of this, of course, means that I do not want to defy the laws of the natural world, and move the homes of all these distant loved ones – everyone – into one land mass where we can all live close to each other. Nothing, nothing (!) beats being able to hug someone you love, or looking into their eyes while they talk to you. But, we have all these wonderful tools to keep us together when we’re apart.
P.S. I head west next week for some brilliant face to face time.
P.S.P.S. Ben and I are working on being on the same land mass.