Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kiss and Ride on the CTA

My 4th grade teacher once went into a long description of purgatory for us, telling us about the intermediary placement that sinners were sent to before being allowed into heaven (I swear this isn’t another iconoclastic rant, but seriously- how fucked up is that? I was NINE). One kid in my class said that purgatory sounded even worse than hell, because he would rather just go one way or another right away, even if it was hell*. I immediately opposed this, saying that nothing could be worse than hell- certainly not a quick little stint through the purgatorial fires. This led to the first debate I ever took part in, stimulating the class into a full-on religious brawl that I don’t think Glen was prepared for.

It’s kind of a stretch, but I have been thinking about this debate a lot recently as I have discussed with four friends the shitty state of our relationships. When college ended we all mentally prepared for the separation of friends, the move home, even the drastic cut in our blackout nights. What we never could have prepped for was the communal state of paralysis we are in now because of our long distance relationships. The sneaky bastards all kind of crept up on us in the last few months, way after we had made our peace leaving college sans men. In they came, like little ninjas- the annoying truth being that they had only been five minutes away for years. Years that we spent meeting boys that we lovingly nicknamed “V-Card”, “Veritas”, and “Linguini-peenee”. I digress. If the best part of a relationship is comparable to heaven, and the breakup is hell, then a long distance relationship must certainly be purgatory. So far I’m standing firm in the middleground. Other friends have decided it’s not worth it, and I can’t say I blame them.

It’s tricky, and the worst part about LDRs is that they never get any easier. I think this is because you are forced to think forward or backward at all times. There is no present so you must constantly remember better, sweeter times or imagine the next weekend you’ll spend together. Our insane amount of technology makes LDRs easier, but you can only call/text/email/skype/gchat/send messages via homing pigeon for so long before the novelty wears off. “I miss you” loses its meaning quickly because you miss them so often (and so much) that you stop saying it altogether.

The only parallel we have is freshman year of college, where nearly everyone went through the process of keeping or dumping their high school love within the first month. For some, the temptation was high once you spotted the hottie stoner in a Che Guevara t-shirt in your Native American literature class (total hypothetical). Others made a good faith effort and stuck with the hometown love for awhile (perhaps, for example, because the hottie stoner was dumb as rocks and owned full size bongo drums). Yet the problem with this parallel is that despite our best efforts, we grew up a lot in college. What we thought was four reckless years of freedom and chaos was actually an extremely formative experience. Somehow on the way, we learned how to pick partners that complement us, make us better people, and that we can date from a distance without constant drama. It’s almost a little scary to think about how much better equipped I am to deal with this type of relationship than I was when I first attempted it.

And yet, sheer capability isn’t enough. I am doing this not because I can but because I truly want to. Because the alternative is too sad to really consider (plus we tried it a few times and it didn’t take). So here I sit, in this random place that has no clear cut direction. I know that it isn’t perfect, but the worst case scenario would be a life without the very cute and mortified guy reading this from three states away.

* He was the troublemaker later expelled from school, so perhaps he was just prematurely accepting his fate


Teresa said...

well if that wasn't just one of the most depressing things i've read recently.

not giving me much hope for a cross-continental one, either.

Gina Marie said...

Oooops. I was trying to make you feel better... that's what I get for blogging after several cocktails I guess

Lauren said...

Props for the homing pigeon reference! I think your boy soudns fun

Lauren said...

and I totally remember you telling me about creeper Che guy

Liz said...

i've been thinking about blogging on this topic for quite some time. now that you've broken the ice i think i might take a crack at it.

Waiit said...

Great article!
Long Distance relationships are a true test to a couple's commitment and personal limits. LDRs take a great amount of effort to maintain and often people involved in them, realize that they evolve into a state of emotion that they never found themselves in before. When your partner is miles away from you, it is very easy to let things go wrong and lead your long distance romance to an early death. Some people find it difficult to bridge the distance through communication, others become overly obsessed with what their partner is doing when they are not there and as a result they spiral down a road of jealousy and suspicion. They key is balance and following some basic steps to keep your relationship healthy and strong.

Check the LDR website for more info on the topic