16.000 km is not a distance

“Each time we say “IRL,” “face-to-face,” or “in person” to mean connection without screens, we frame what is “real” or who is a person in terms of their geographic proximity rather than other aspects of closeness — variables like attention, empathy, affect, erotics, all of which can be experienced at a distance. We should not conceptually preclude or discount all the ways intimacy, passion, love, joy, pleasure, closeness, pain, suffering, evil and all the visceral actualities of existence pass through the screen. “Face to face” should mean more than breathing the same air”. – http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/fear-of-screens/

This quote was shared with me indirectly by someone I have never “met”. Of course I have met her, first through pictures in which she grinned at me, then when she called my name as I was skyping her house mate, then when we shared a meal – she was eating dinner, I was eating breakfast. She lives in Australia, I live in Germany, and we have never physically, geographically been in the same room. I suppose technically she didn’t share this quote with me. She shared it with my boyfriend, because it made her think of him and I, and I really appreciate it. I appreciate how open and understanding she is, as are so many of his and my friends although she, or anyone else, has never “met” him or me.

DSC_0981

I appreciate it because the screen is a reality I face and live with, and it’s not a terrible one. I appreciate it because my relationship is sometimes seen as lesser, or on the contrary as inherently more difficult, more demanding. To me it’s just a relationship. One I wouldn’t be having if it wasn’t for technology, because there would never have been a way for him to affect my life as he has. We would have parted and never communicated again. If anyone would like to mention letters at this point, I would like to say that one, we are/ have been writing letters. Two, letters are also a technology and emails and texts are just a different version of them, allowing for an increase in speed and presence. I love letters. I think they’re wonderful, and it’s very possible to get to know each other through them. But having a relationship in which you’re partner is always in the past, because his or her letter was written a week or two or a month ago, and in which you are so dependent on the work of other people to be with each other – well, that’s a pretty detached way of having a relationship.

I appreciate the article this quote is from because it’s a juxtaposition to what we are being told, what I am being told, repeatedly. “Technology” gets in the way of communication, of relation, of humanity all together. It is said to be detaching, numbing, secluding. But who from? The people who are in our spatial proximity. The article is right when it criticises the priority that is placed upon geographical proximity. What about the person on the other end of the line, whether I am texting with them, or answering their call? While, of course, the call is preferable to the text. It’s more excusable. How dare I text while I am in the presence of others?

DSC_0988

So what if that person at the other end of the line is in emotional turmoil? What if they need me right then? If that person was here, geographically close, at the same get together or party, and I noticed their trouble, would you criticize us for excusing ourselves from the room for a moment, or mind if I held that person to subtly show them support? My guess is that you would be understanding of that person’s compromised content and the emotional support I was offering them. At least the people I know would be. They would ask if he or she was okay, if they themselves could do anything to make it better. Well, the person on the other end of the line is in this exact same situation, just that I am not around. And maybe we cannot call, because maybe they are feeling horribly shit in a surrounding where talking (on the phone) is not appropriate. Maybe there is no one else around who can show them support. Why is it now looked down upon if I do my best to be there for them? Maybe he or she is in another time zone, maybe he or she can’t talk in an hour because then they will be at work. The transmitter of my affection and empathy might be a technological body, but the recipient of it is not. It’s a human being that feels and hurts even when I turn my phone off. That person is not a radio I can tune up or down to my liking.

In a world like ours not becoming friends with someone who isn’t around is not an option. We migrate, we travel, we meet and we let our hearts be touched by the people in our wake. We don’t have to forget about those wonderful people. We can let them keep touching our hearts and inspiring us. I have met amazing human beings in all the places I have gone. So many of them have helped me grow to be who I am and another many of them still help me grow today. Why should I expel them from my life only because I need my laptop, phone, my socket to communicate with them? I have written about travel friends before, and the magical thing about them is that constant communication is not even needed. When I moved away from my home town, when my life started moving away from my teenage friends who I spent every single day with for years, we began fading in each other’s lives. There seems to be this expectation that constant exchange is needed to maintain relevance. That’s different with travel friends somehow. Constant communication was never part of the equation and so it isn’t needed.

DSC_0965DSC_0969

Constant communication through technology, however, is part of my relationship, but take it from me, that doesn’t mean it’s less real, less impacting, less touching. The fact that we cannot just hug each other to share our affection, or pick up a bouquet of flowers or the other’s favourite chocolate on the way to them, just means that we have to be even more creative with showing affection. I feel motivated to create, to produce, to go out of my way, to plan ahead. I do things I have wanted to do for a long time, so I can make him proud, so I can put a smile on his face. I restrain myself and the bitch inside me, because I know how much harder it is to take those things back. I make a conscious decision to present myself truthfully and rawly, to be the realest I have ever been, because I want to keep this person around once we are close in all the ways possible.

If I didn’t have technology, I wouldn’t be who I was. I wouldn’t keep learning from the experiences friends make in different parts of the world, wouldn’t get to see what the news tell me through their eyes, through the eyes of those that are affected by these news. I wouldn’t have an amazing, inspiring, strong best friend who lives in America, and whose heart is so entwined with mine that we don’t need to talk every day or week to know we matter to each other. And I wouldn’t have a boyfriend who despite the distance, despite the screens and cables between us, is the most loving, understanding, open minded, perfectly odd man I have ever known. I don’t know how I was lucky enough to stumble upon someone who is all the right things to me. My phone might know. I should ask it sometime.

DSC_0995

Comments

  1. Fox

    Lost for words. I love your photos!
    I read this Seazar and it made me think of my own girlfriend who is far, far away. She is unique and inspiring and I am so lucky to have found her. Without modern technologies I would never have had the opportunities to pursue her that I did. Yes I would have written letters to her if that was my only option (I still did), but maybe I might not have asked for her address when we met. Maybe I would have lost it in the years it took for me to realise that the woman I met for a moment was never going to leave my head. Modern forms of communication made it easy to add a friend to my life that I could speak with at the touch of a button. Even with that ease though, it still took the same courage to reach out to her when I did as it would irl. Imagine leaning towards someone you like at a party, at your job, in your group assignment for uni, wherever you find yourself and that individual; and attempting to start a conversation that you secretly hope will never truly finish. Just because you can’t see that person, doesn’t make that leap any less scary when you’re carrying real emotions and feelings with you.

    Our relationship might be long distance, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still in my head with all the other people that are important to me in my life. It doesn’t matter where those people are in the world, I’ll always carry them with me. We are all very lucky and very privileged though. We live in a time when the person that shines brightest to us, who can be so very far away, can also be the person you talk to every single day in one form or another.
    So thank you phone and thank you laptop. I have someone important and very special in my life now because of you, and I never want to lose her.
    Thank you Seazar.

  2. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest
    writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site discusses
    a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from
    each other. If you are interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by
    the way!

  3. I’m very pleased to uncover this web site.
    I wanted to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!!

    I definitely liked every part of it and i also have you book marked
    to check out new information on your site.

  4. I blog often and I seriously thank you for your information. Your article has really peaked my interest.
    I am going to book mark your website and keep checking for new
    information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

  5. Great goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely fantastic.

    I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which you say
    it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep
    it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you.
    This is actually a great web site.

  6. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness
    and visual appearance. I must say you have done a superb job with this.
    In addition, the blog loads very quick for me on Chrome.
    Excellent Blog!

  7. Uta

    Thank you for every other fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such a perfect means of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look
    for such info.

  8. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage?
    My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would certainly
    benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if
    this alright with you. Thanks!

  9. Undeniably consider that which you stated. Your favorite
    justification seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to keep in mind of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked at the same time as
    people consider issues that they just don’t recognise about.

    You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect
    , folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more.
    Thank you

  10. Useful information. Lucky me I found your web site accidentally, and I’m shocked why this accident didn’t happened earlier!

    I bookmarked it.

  11. Whats up very cool blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful ..
    I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally?

    I’m glad to find a lot of useful info right here
    in the post, we’d like work out more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

  12. Great article, exactly what I wanted to find.

  13. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this
    site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking
    back often!

  14. Every weekend i used to go to see this website, as i want enjoyment,
    for the reason that this this web page conations in fact fastidious funny data
    too.

  15. I pay a visit day-to-day a few web pages and sites to read articles,
    except this website presents feature based articles.

  16. I blog often and I seriously appreciate your content.
    This great article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week.
    I opted in for your Feed as well.

  17. I blog quite often and I really appreciate your content. The
    article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once per
    week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.

  18. Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site
    with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this
    to my followers! Outstanding blog and superb design and style.

  19. I used to be able to find good information from your articles.

  20. Heya this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to
    know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually
    code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get advice
    from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  21. What’s up friends, how is everything, and what you wish for to say concerning this paragraph, in my view its genuinely remarkable designed
    for me.

  22. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating
    it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve
    got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested
    in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look
    forward to seeing it grow over time.

  23. Hey There. I found your weblog the use of msn. This is an extremely neatly written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

  24. I visit each day a few websites and blogs to read articles, except this web site gives quality based articles.

  25. Hello, its good article regarding media print, we all know media
    is a wonderful source of data.

  26. I like the valuable information you provide for your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at again here frequently.
    I’m slightly certain I’ll be told many new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  27. What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of
    precious familiarity on the topic of unpredicted feelings.

  28. It is perfect time to make some plans for the longer term and
    it is time to be happy. I have read this put up
    and if I may just I wish to recommend you few interesting issues or suggestions.
    Maybe you could write subsequent articles referring to
    this article. I want to learn even more issues about it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *