“It doesn’t matter to me.”
A peculiar social phenomena. What’s acceptable, what’s not. At some points in our life, a day represents a year, and that year can mean the difference between young love and jail time.
When Nook and I met, this gap meant much more than it does now.
Then, the friendship was purely social, friendly, chatty.
It was because that is what it was, but also what it had to be.
There was never any hint of impropriety -- we never spoke verbally, nor met, neither one of us could have been what we purported to be, and we’d never have known.
But that did not matter. Somehow we made a connection, one which we could not and did not explore in any other medium than electronically. This was before webcams, before Skype, before any of the social media that we’re used to today.
We used our minds, our words, email and instant messages. We laid the foundation of a friendship which spanned nearly a decade and a half of age difference, but in this amazingly unique context possible online - simply did not matter.
When people are talking and interacting face to face, or webcam to webcam, there’s a natural drive to begin to find differences and detractors. You begin to focus on minutiae and details that obfuscate the messages and exchange you’re trying to develop.
With myself and Nook, we focussed purely on the attractors, on the things we had in common. Not the things which we could never have in common (such as a shared experience of living history).
Timing is everything.
I’ve often felt I was born five hundred or a thousand years too soon. I love what humanity has invented and created these past centuries and I have hope in what may yet come. I realise I won’t be alive to experience the potential worlds which (science-)fiction has laid out for us, but until then, I embrace the technology and changes in social culture and communication which have arrived thusfar.
The ability for Nook and I to find our connection, and our commonalities, is largely reliant upon these developments. Recorded music is a fantastic example. A few centuries ago, there was none. There was no ability to replay something as beautiful as a piece of music (regardless of genre). Now, we have our iPods, mp3’s and much more.
And whilst these things did not exist when I met Nook, we still had the ability to find these common likes and share them with each other. A film reference. A tv programme. A musical artist. All things to build and create our friendship, to help us learn what the other liked (and yes, disliked).
There’s a bit of social wisdom which says that the most compatible match for a man is a woman who is half his age, plus seven years.
The theory is that the maturity he has attracts her, plus his experience and position in life. He’s got his “wildness” out, is likely more ready for something serious, and might even be able to express himself better.
From his point of view, her youth with often more advanced maturity as compared to men of the same age represents the ideal combination of fun and frivolity. Of passion, pleasure and possibilities. It is a chance to invoke those primal human qualities of wanting to provide and protect, but also to enjoy the many sensual pleasures that we appreciate more and more as we age.
Half plus seven. Nook and I fit into that range.
She says my age does not matter to her. Of course, she’s aware that for one proficient in actuarial sciences would proffer that my age means the time we have together is, by definition, far more limited than were to she choose a mate her age or younger.
She’s also aware that either one of us could be hit by a car, develop cancer, or meet any number of other forms of an untimely demise.
So what matters is now. What we feel and want to share, what we have, had and are yet to have. As one of my friends said upon hearing the story, “carpe diem.”
As you can see from the home page to our site, we’ve exchanged a few emails. It’s difficult to fathom the number if you’re not inside of the relationship. I, Chair, have kept every single one of them. It’s a self-documenting love story, and something inside of me told me to keep them.
Nook and I share a somewhat unique trait when it comes to email exchange. We both can manage multiple simultaneous threads. We may have 7, 8 or more conversations going on, each with emails zipping back and forth.
This is normal and natural for me, and it was astounding to find out that Nook also was particularly adept to it. Threads come and go, following their own natural life-span, but the number speaks for itself.
Some friends have asked how it is we can really communicate so much. For Nook and I, it was easy; we have just done what comes naturally for both of us. Many of our mails may be short, only a few words or letters, but they serve to keep us linked, in touch, connected.
Communication is vital to any relationship. It’s not always about what you say, but that you are able to say it, and that you feel comfortable with your partner to express anything and everything. Without judgement, without reservation.
The tens of thousands of emails between Nook and myself have helped us reach that level of sharing, and we’re both hopeful it’s laid the groundwork for a relationship filled with open communication.
If you’re curious about what this looks like when graphed out per day, here you go:
This is the number of emails per day, since December 2009.
This is similar data, up through 23 July, 2010. The high score numbers were close to 600 or 700 emails exchanged in a single day between the two of us. The multi-day spans when there was little communication are the times we’ve been in the same place a the same time. Yes, we still send emails to each other, just slightly fewer