Friday, April 22, 2005

This relationship in words

A few years ago I wrote that "I have a strong attraction to the staccato movement of the email conversation, caused by message lag-time. All that groping about, anticipating articulation, time to imagine... It gives me a sensual pleasure I have never felt while chatting in real-time (or in real-space for that matter)."

I still feel this way and although I may not live in the time when ladies had letter-cases - sigh - I adore being able to linger over someone else's words. I'm also drawn to the kind of intimacy that comes from speaking or writing to people who never hear us.

In the past, one of the only ways lovers kept in touch was through hand-delivered letters. Relationships in words, or what I think of as love's non-places, may not be new but the ability to stay in that space or to keep it all instantaneous may be.

Far Apart but Intensely Connected

"Julia Steinmetz and Michael Mandiberg live on opposite sides of the United States, but are in constant contact -- courtesy of their unlimited cell-phone plan. The couple spends hours 'together' each day, talking, messaging and, yes, even sleeping on the phone...

'With the absence of not getting to sleep next to each other, I probably do have as much contact as I had before,' Steinmetz said. 'It just becomes a more different kind of contact ... it becomes this relationship in words.'

There can be drawbacks to so much long-distance contact. Mandiberg admits his constant communication with Steinmetz has hampered him from really starting his life in New York... And though they're not together physically, the way they keep in touch means they live almost on Mountain time, somewhere between Los Angeles and New York, Mandiberg said."

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