I have stacks of debris from past relationships that take up space around my house. In the general wake of the relationship’s demise there’s always the initial impulse to rid my living space of any reminder that the individual actually existed. There are picture frames full of memories from shared holiday gatherings shoved in my closets, shoes and t-shirts and miscellaneous chords from God only knows what kind of electronics. There are souvenirs of the shiny and sparkly variety and other random detritus. Sure, eventually I’ll heave it all to the dumpster…but amongst it all, the things least likely to coexist with the rotting groceries and junk mail are those small tokens of the hand-written nature (…and the oversized sweatpants).
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a legitimate romantic. I’ve got a thing for disgustingly sappy romance novels and I’m pretty positive that Nicholas Sparks has instilled ridiculous expectations for love inside my malleable little mind. I’m heading to Italy in a month and I’m bracing myself for the inevitable onslaught of swoonage. It’s going to happen folks. Yes…yes it is.
In relationships, I will subtly drop not-so subtle hints about my little romantic heart. The last guy hit it on the head…letters. Oh, God, I thought I might die. There is nothing in this world like a handwritten letter…neatly folded pages and ink…with a stamp and everything (Yep. certifiably insane I am…and you will deal with it).
These days we have text messages…and yeah, they can be sweet. But, when someone takes the time to write a 4 page letter singing your praises…I’m falling, jumping, diving (quickly…into a brick wall with that one…but I digress).
And it made me think, recently, about the ways that technology has manipulated our relationships.
Consider it. Prior to cellular devices and e-mail and floral delivery services…consider the pure effort that was necessary to keep a relationship going.
It was work. It took thought. And maybe that’s why we see so many modern-day relationships failing.
I’m also convinced that the ability to hide behind a screen has made a lot of men a bunch of pansy-asses. Why am I getting a text message from you 10 minutes after you saw me at a bar asking if I’d like to get a drink sometime? Really? You couldn’t have asked me in person?
And, why is it that the acceptable way of getting to know someone is friending them on Facebook? I don’t care who you are…kosher conversations don’t begin with, “I was Facebook stalking you today and saw that…”
Words are this beautiful tool. They act as a wrecking ball and a podium, a means of reaching out, pulling in, and swathing distances in comfort and recognition. They can be assertive and hurtful, soft and reassuring; they are proof that you went somewhere and felt something. They are sturdy documentation and a tangible reference to all of the things you felt about something or someone, and that it was real.
And they are free.
Write a few. On paper. It’s cathartic.
And when she wants to hate you…she won’t be able to. Because she’ll have 4 pages of heartfelt nonsense to reference. And, even if it doesn’t last forever, she’ll still remember a point in time where you owned up to your feelings and cared enough to put forth a little effort.
Or she’ll keep it for blackmail. And tease you about how much of a pansy you are. But really, how likely is that?