Thinking about communicating.
I had some good conversation with John Shirley, tonight. This was meatspace conversation, rather than those silly texts that we exchange or chats by phone. I've always liked that guy, but lately we've been pretty damned tight. Not a bad friend to have, that one. I've been proud to call him a friend for some time, now. If you follow his writings at Wandering Thoughts, then you know his life since returning from Afghanistan. If not, then I would submit that it's worth reading him to know him.
John said the other day that he looks at my dad as a father figure, and I felt no jealousy. Just understanding. His father passed on a few years ago, and I really would rather not have to try to think of what pain that passing cost him. I'm pleased to think of John like a brother. I have a brother, and love the man dearly. But my brother and I are victims of age disparity, and we have very different interests. He's a better man than most, and I have nothing but pleasure when we speak. It's just that, due to our different interests, we don't speak a whole lot.
On speaking: isn't this an odd time? I call my pals across the hundreds of miles, and it costs.... nothing. I could talk to John via phone in Georgia, and my plan has it paid for. I have spoken to Tamara, Claire, Cranky Professor, LawDog, Peter, Marko, Ambulance Driver, Don Gwinn, Roberta X (briefly), and Stingray (of the Atomic Nerds), all of whom live a hundred miles or more away from me, without spending an extra dime. My house phone gives me free long distance, and my cell phone, with 1400 minutes a month, is free long distance. Shoot, calling AT&T, I don't even use those minutes. Remember when the beauty of email was that you could stay in touch without costly long distance charges? Now, that's not an issue. Yet we text and email regularly. It's the modern equivalent of letter writing, I think. Paper mail may yet go the way of paper newspapers. (And make no mistake; their days are numbered.) I remember having to beg permission to talk to my high school girlfriend, who lived 8 miles north of me; it was long distance. I remember my best friend's father being furious when my best friend and I talked for an hour, our freshman year in college; "For the price of that phone call, you could have gotten a round-trip bus ticket from A&M to UT to visit!" He had griped to my buddy.
We can now just call who we want, and have good conversations with good people. Our world isn't limited to bogus "localities,' as defined by the phone companies.
You. Reader: do me a favor. Call someone whom you've either never physically met, or who matters to you, and just chat for a minute or twenty. It may be the most important conversation of your week. Or your life.