Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Internet...Bringing Us Together, Tearing Us Apart

I sit in a dilapidated vinyl office chair, the glare of my laptop lights half my bedroom, an orb of green light glows behind me from the desk lamp attached to my wooden waterbed frame. The bed takes up three-fourths of my bedroom. The gap between its foot and my desk is just large enough for my office chair. It's like a booth in a dark piano bar.

Nirvana plays in front of me, just on the other side of my smoking ashtray. If I close my eyes, I can hear Kurt Cobain inhaling and exhaling onto the microphone. That's all close it all seems right now - the past, the present and the future.

I think of my first weeks spent wired into AOL and the Internet. Almost a decade later, I recognize the past in the LCD light and multi-media concert. That was when I met my first internet relationship. She was in a serious relationship and I was still young enough to believe I could stick around too see it come to a head or spill over. Months later, she was single and I was in a relationship. The years disappeared between us; strung together by the wires connecting our drives.

She represents one of my longest and closest relationships in part because we are so far apart. We don't talk - chat - online anymore, neither of us has the time. We prefer to talk on the phone, when we can be living our separate lives and still converse as if we were sharing a Denny's booth at 3 a.m. The time-zone buffer allows us this proximity.

In less than two months, we will breathe the same Texas air. We will see the same clouds and will finally be able to argue their shapes face-to-face, and that scares the hell out of me. At this very minute, she could be feeling the same. She could be sitting in front of her computer wondering how a relationship grew out womb of technology to forge the long distances of time and computer upgrades.

It has been a relationship of trust because it could not be built on anything else. There was no physical attraction; no love-at-first-sight; no shy games of strategic avoidance. All we had - all we have is our conversation, our interest in one another and are wireless connection. In less than two months, we will stand on 6 years of truly knowing one another and wonder what to say first.

Silence.
The CD has stopped playing.

Just two glowing lights and I'm alone in my bedroom staring at my computer screen again wondering what to type next. Kurt Cobain is dead; I put in another CD, and file Nirvana away. I have all them; filed by production date. I remember I was in high school when I first heard Smells Like Teen Spirit and wore my first plaid shirt. It's been years since I listened to any of them; I'd forgotten how much they meant to me. I put on Come As You Are and try to remember my life before I really cared about anyone.

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