Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Days - The Best & The Worst

No suspenseful story here.  This one, 2009's Valentine's Day, is the best and the worst one.

It's actually been really and mostly good.  I have a girl that I love with all my heart.  That makes it the best.  The worst part is being apart, yet feeling like we're not, but,yeah, we are apart...  So, it's the best because of her, it's the worst because of her.  ...she's not here.  The positives absolutely outweigh the negatives, though.  No doubt!  It's a wonderful feeling of misery, to live and love in this modern day world, with it's modern day technologies. All that "living like our ancestors" is crap.  So, I'm thankful.

I'm particularly thankful for the internet, without which I would not have my wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, short, funny, talented, cute, sexy, girlfriend (who, for those of you out of the loop on this one, lives in Bulgaria).  Yes, we met via the internet years ago, became friends, years later, met in person, then, eventually, became much more than friends.

For all the good of the internet (email, IM, webcams, etc.), there seems to be something of a lag in how we perceive people at the other end of the wire.  Our minds simply don't comprehend that the person we're seeing on those webcam isn't right here in the room with us.

In the days of yore, we had messengers to carry letters.  Kings, Generals, Apostles, and other important people would round up some poor sap to carry a scroll or two a very long distance, hand delivering it at the end.  In some cases, he'd wait around for the return trip with the answer. That's a long time between the send and receive.

In a Bulgarian antique store, Gal found a card from a man to his woman, It is dated 1917.

He says : "my dearest love, I regret to inform you that I am very very busy with work, so I will not be coming now, but in a few days I will be free and I will come home, so please start getting ready for me. I am sending you my kisses..."

Underneath, apparently, it says "please deliver personally TO HER and by train immediately."

That's what she says it says, anyway.  If there's anyone reading this who speaks Klingon or whatever that is, don't ruin this for her.  I'm going to go with it.

For the sake of argument, let's assume it's all true.  Well, that's quite a difference from calling from the office to say you're going to be late for dinner.  I guess we have the long distance relationship pretty easy compared to people who used runners, the Pony Express, wagon trains, actual trains, and ships.

Fast forward to 'yesteryear," and even our parents, who relied on airplanes to deliver mail and had phones had it pretty hard.  Calls were short because they were extremely expensive, if not prohibitive.  Letters still took from days to weeks to arrive, depending on the "to" and "from" locations.

I love this Bulgarian girl, and will not give her up for the world.  I thank God for Al Gore and his invention of the internet, which makes our long distance relationship possible.  The guy who invented the webcam (big thanks, Gregorio Y. Zara!) deserves a thank you card, too.  With Skype and the webcam, it's like we're in the same room.  But as good as looking through a camera across the world to Bulgaria is, it's somehow really bad, too.

It's not even the obvious parts, like the opposing timezone thing - when she's going to bed, I'm eating lunch, and when I'm leaving for work, she's just getting home from her day.  I'm awake when she's asleep.  She's awake when I'm asleep.  I almost posted a Björk song about that feeling, but it's just too grim.  Björk gets the feeling, but she talks about "ending things" ...dramatically, and that's way more "cry for help" than I'm feeling.  I have no such thought or intention...  But the angst is there, deep and felt.  Hang in there, Björk

The feeling of "together, but not," also causes the "we can see, but can't touch" effect.  It's almost like being in a dating relationship back in the "days of yore," with a grizzled old woman (sorry, Mom) sitting at the table next to us, keeping us from touching.   I wonder if Skype offers a virtual chaperon service to make the archaic dating sensation complete.

But, even these problems are pretty minor compared to the unseen, and unimagined problem caused by the damn webcam and f***ing inexpensive, ubiquitous, high speed, broadband internet access.  (and for that, I say "screw you, Al Gore!")

What's the problem?  It goes back to that feeling of being in the same room.  Only we're not.  The miracle of Skype lets us talk like we're in the same room.  Free of charge.  Webcam's are running, and we can chat, work, clean, and simply hang out, long distance.  We're in our own homes in two different countries.  ...but she's right there, too!  On one Sunday, I looked down and found that the timer said 7 hours had passed!  Wow, who knew?  Call this a miracle, a blessing, whatever you want to call it, but it's amazing.

Amazing, yes.  But, after a few days like this, your mind plays tricks on you.  You go to work on Monday, as usual, but then as you pack up your desk at 6 o'clock, you almost fight the urge to call home and say you're on your way, to let her know to "start getting ready."

Our minds do not yet fully comprehend this phenomenon.  Do you get it, or should I write a couple of paragraphs using cool words like "paradox," "spacial," "awareness," and "dichotomy?"  I hope not, because I gotta get home, see how my love is doing on my dinner.  Oh wait...

So, what does the future hold in the realm of interpersonal relationships?  How long does our species need to put up with this bullshit?  I'm sure our brains will catch up to our technology at some point, if the past is any indication.  Our caveman ancestors wouldn't have understood the spyglass, and my great grandfather would have freaked out a mere television broadcast.  But we understand those things today.  We get it.  We've "evolved" alongside changes in our technology.  Our brains are bigger, most of us stand  erect, and I'm quite a bit taller than my great grandpa.

I'm hoping that this is where it ends.  What's the next step in dating technology?  Teleportation?  Not really an issue.  If you can set aside the conversion of matter to pure energy, then the reassembly at the other end, you're cool.  Once we're to this point, the long distance part of the relationship is pretty much wrapped up; the other side of the planet might as well be next door.

It might be a while for teleportation.  We don't understand the "pure energy" thing yet.  We don't even have fusion down yet.  So we continue to evolve and force our brains to adapt to these technologies and the dichotomy (I know, but I just had to use it) that comes with it.

Sadly, I fear that our species is doomed.  If science fiction is any indication (and it seems to be pretty accurate in some cases), we're looking at evolving into people with huge heads with weird, thick veins and an obvious pulse that you can see across the room.  Either that, OR living as beings of pure energy.  The latter probably means that the teleportation and long distance issues are moot, right?  But can we get there without first growing immense noggins?

Hmmm...  I sense a problem.  If we grow the huge head thing, that could just be the end.

 Yes, I got a swelled head because you
could love me, but this is just not good!

Who's going to travel around the world to date that guy?  Uh, no...  As soon as that webcam turns on, someone's turned off!  Long distance relationship?  Done.  Over.  Kaput.  But I digress.  This is an issue for our future psychiatrists, therapists, and physicists.

So, with this in mind, I put the worry about our collective future aside and concentrate on my own future with my Eastern European chick, and settle into this, hopefully, short term long distance thing until the long term, short distance thing takes over.  I'm in it for the long haul, I just hope it's not all that long.  As of today, said chick's been gone for four weeks.  (Is that really all?)  And there's something like nine weeks until she comes back.  That's forever.

Oh, and I've had a few headaches lately.  Is that my brain growing inside my head or just the coffee cutback?  I can't risk it!  Hurry back, Gal!

Oh, and happy Valentine's Day, love.  I've never been happier.


  1. It's the best and the worst for me, too. Before this turns cheesy, let me say you write beautifully.

  2. Hang in there, Roland. My Valentine's Day will be shared over the phone, so I have an idea about how you feel.

  3. One of your best blog writings, too!

  4. You are definately a funny Valentine!

    Hope that the next nine weeks move along quickly for you both, and that when you're together once again, time stands still.

  5. Thanks, everyone.

    It was a wonderful Valentine's Day. Strangely, because of the time zone differences, I feel like I got three of them. We talked when it was Valentine's Day morning in bg, then on my morning and her evening, then, finally, on my evening. Good stuff. :)

    Oh... mmmm... cheese...

  6. So sweet... I am glad ya'll are finally together. Erika


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