It’s always been about the words for us.
Since I was first allowed to get calls from “a boy” and I reassured my parents that we were totally just friends anyway and somehow the hours sped by while we talked about everything and nothing, until my Mom would pick up the downstairs line and yell up the stairs to “GET OFF THE PHONE!”
Since those early days when we wrote long rambling notes on loose-leaf paper, doodling in the margins and folding them into elaborate shapes before handing them off to each other in between classes.
Since the poetry unit in English 20, when he took a 10% penalty rather than read his poem to the whole class, but printed it up, glued it to a giant red heart and gave it to me for Valentine’s Day.
It’s the words that made us friends in the first place. It’s the words that made us laugh until it hurt and console each other and get closer than anyone had ever been before.
We built our own world with those words.
And now they come with a 140 character limit. And a data bill at the end of the month. And an audience of friends and family and people we sort-of knew in elementary school who we haven’t seen in years.
Sure, there are times when I roll my eyes and glare at the iPad. “You’re with the REAL people now” I say. Then hastily tuck my iPhone back into my pocket, lest my hypocrisy come back to bite me on the ass. It can feel like a barrier; a virtual distraction in our already busy lives. Bound to happen when both Mom and Dad are social media junkies.
But I can’t imagine our relationship without it. Especially not now, when time is at a premium and life moves at warp speed (that’s really, really fast for you non-nerds). Every day we text and tweet and message and status update and comment and like, and yes, even blog our way to intimacy.
We build our own world with those words.
If you’ve never live-tweeted a date, then maybe you won’t understand. When something goes wrong, I text him. When something tickles my funny bone, I send a picture with a caption. When he can’t be there with us, he’s the first to like it on Facebook. When I want him to know how much I appreciate him, I tell the world (here and here and here).
If it weren’t for this, we’d be ships passing in the night. Instead, we end our days on opposite ends of the couch, with our feet tangled in the middle – sending me a link to that great blog he was talking about, pulling up the funny YouTube video on Apple TV for us to watch, and commenting on each other’s pages. Real and virtual romance inextricably entwined.
I used to doodle “G+C 4ever” on my binder covers, now I download cheesy gifs and emoticons to send him. The medium has changed, but not the message.
This is what flirting looks like in the digital age.
So here’s my entry to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Love in the 21st Century. My love story predates internet dating, smart phones and Skype chats, but we’ve embraced online romance in our own way.
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Love in the 21st Century (dailypost.wordpress.com)