Satellites

This article made me think. 

That's a dangerous activity, sometimes, but it wasn't a bad thing. 

The couple described in the article were married 62 years, and they both died June 28th.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about relationships, and I said that I wasn't sure I would ever find one person like that (if nothing else, I'd be like 5000 years old at the end).  I think I've gotten too comfortable living alone.  I'm not sure.

I'm not lonely, though.  There's a distinction.  I just wonder if there comes a point where you're beyond "happily ever after" relationships. 

Nor am I bitter.  I love seeing couples like my parents, who've been married 45 years, or my friends Pat and Heather, who started dating during our Junior Year of High School, and have been together ever since, couples who happily orbit each other for huge majorities of each other's lives.

I had yesterday off–a rare job-free Friday in Tomville–and I spoke one word to another human being: "Thanks," to the cashier at the grocery store.

I spoke other words, of course.  I issued commands to the cats (I may as well have issued commands to the Gulf of Mexico for all the good it did), and I directed a profanity-thick rant at a fellow motorist. Mostly, though, I just lay in bed reading.  I chatted with friends on the Interwebs and via text message, but it was quiet.

Maybe that's it. Van Morrison has a song called "So Quiet in Here," and a cd called "Hymns to the Silence." He's awesome, so maybe there's something to that.

I was thinking this week about how things have changed since I went away to college. 

My friend Amily is going off for her Freshman year of college next month.  She's asked me about what it will be like.  The biggest memory I had was that it was difficult to maintain relationships with my friends and family.  We either had to send letters (which was slow), or call long distance (which could be ridiculously expensive). 

Amily won't have to do either of those things.  She can send e-mails and texts and Facebook updates and make no-charge long distance calls all from her Crackberry. 

While there was something satisfying about sending or receiving a long letter–the tactile presence of the word-imprinted paper, the wear after repeated foldings and rereadings, the dribs and drabs of whiskey or tears or ketchup staining the paper–it was slow: two days at best, or the better part of a week at the worst.  If I had a bad Abyss day, and poured out my soul in a letter, I'd most likely be in a better mood (or ten days into a nutbin vacation) by the time I got any communication in return.

These days, I could (and have) updated my Facebook status that I had insomnia, and within a few hours, I had comments from 10 friends on four continents.

Another oddity, many of these 10 I've never met–I've only known them in an Internet environment–but they are just as real to me as FB people I went to highschool with years ago.  On Facebook, Jenn (who sits behind me) shows up the same as some kid I was in third grade with.  My very first girlfriend and my most recent are equals.

I don't do things with a lot of "real life" people.  I work amongst them, shop beside them, drive behind them. Really, though, other than Carrie and Nicole and Jenn and a few others, I don't do a lot of voluntary interaction with my fellow humans.  Maybe I've turned into Scrooge–secret, self-contained, and solitary as an oyster–or maybe I just live too much in my own head, using the Internet to chat with friends I'd otherwise never have met.  Is it serendipitous that we met?

I don't think so, not entirely. I'd argue it's less-serendipitous that I've met friends through Vox, and more of a happy coincidence that I ended up sitting next to someone at work.  With Vox, I've spent the last almost-three years writing about things that amused, annoyed, or affected me, and if you're in my neighborhood, odds are you either like the way I think or mock me mercilessly.  Either way, somehow, out of the kabillion people on earth, you found my crazy little corner (and I yours). 

And somehow, 63 years ago Patricia Assise found Lou DeMuro, and they lived together as one till death did they part. They managed to meet and fall in love before Facebook, cell phones, unleaded gas, astroturf, satellites, cable tv, microwave ovens (and the popcorn thereof), and drive-thru, 24-hour McDonald's.  It was a world almost unrecognizable to today's.  Was it better? Worse?

Nah.  It was different.  

Same as the difference between when I went to college and now.  Amily probably won't spend 62 years married to the same person, but her life reflects the age in which she lives, same as mine or anyone else's.  The technology is transparent to her–she's never lived in a world without cellphones and Interwebs.  I can't even begin to imagine the differences she'll note when she's my age, or the technology with which she notes them.

R.I.P., Patricia and Lou.  You all had a great life together, and I wish you a pleasant afterlife as well. 

And Amily, don't forget to write. 😉

Happy Weekend.

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8 Responses to “Satellites”

  1. Happy weekend to you, tom. Lovely piece, as always!

  2. Thank you, Professor. Enjoy your coast. 🙂

  3. So true for me as well, that my Vox friends are as close, if not closer, then the people I see in person. I share much more of myself with my Vox neighborhood than I ever would with people in person….it is a trust issue.

  4. …He greeted his bride of 62 years as he always had: "Hi,
    Babe."…"They had them facing one another in their individual beds, and we
    put their hands on top of one another so they could hold hands," their
    daughter said. "Mom was awake. She said, 'Lou, I love you. I had a
    wonderful life. I'll see you in another place.' ''
    *insert wail here* Yeah, I believe in this kind of love being possible at any stage of life. What I loved most about the article is that even though both of them were in different facilities under medical care, their children honored their love enough to get an ambulance to get him to her bedside. They cared enough to be honest with him that this would probably be the last time he'd see her. That's also such wonderful love.

  5. Oh, that article… my eyes are all soggy now.It's stories like this that make me believe in love, even if it's been elusive for me.

  6. Reading that article with these raging pregnancy hormones was, perhaps, not the best idea… SOB! SNIFF! Ok, I think I'll be alright…Beautiful post as always, Tom. 🙂

  7. i should have put a disclaimer. sorry hon

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