As I mentioned on Facebook last night, Jen and I watched a livestream of the fireworks from Milwaukee. Hers was a bit delayed because she lives 1700 miles away, but we spent 45 minutes enjoying the fireworks together, eating summer foods together, bonding with one another. Thanks to a call I put out on Facebook (I was in a hurry and trying to wade through links on my phone was difficult for an old man with bad eyes), a few people shared links on how to watch the show over the internet, making the whole thing possible.
This was not a first for us. We also watch movies this way, we read together this way (Thanks for the books, Ismail) and we chat for hours on end this way, transcending the miles by talking to one another over bluetooth headsets suggested by Carrie.
It is a wonderful and amazing thing to contemplate how important a role is played by our community in facilitating our growing romance. All along the way, we have received support, encouragement and guidance from people who are part of our social networks. And those social networks are beginning to overlap as we continue to introduce one another to our friends, both in the virtual realm and in meatspace.
It is also an amazing, yet not terribly surprising to me, how much of a role technology plays in our growing romance. Ours is a world where technology plays in increasingly powerful role, a role I regularly see criticized and demeaned in social media (of all places!). People proudly proclaim that they are glad they grew up playing outside, riding bicycles and exploring the fertile grounds of imagination. This is portrayed as superior to the experience of those lazy kids nowadays, getting their entertainment served up to them in the form of video games and technology. And yet, for folks who supposedly spent so much time cultivating their imaginations in the purity of childhood, they still cannot fathom that a child may well be using the internet in the same way that I used the written word and comics and play to spark imaginary flights of fancy. Technology, like the tools I used as a child, can be a powerful kickstarter for a life of wonder, a life of adventure, a life of exploration. And yes, a life of love and romance.
Romantics through the ages have written to one another across the miles, speaking poetically of lying in an open field, looking up at the night sky and imagining their lover looking up at the same skies from their vantage point. I posit that it is not the act of writing about that which makes it a powerful exercise in creativity, but the act of indulging our imaginations which makes us grow. And as my experience last night clearly illustrated for me, technology does not diminish that growth, that connection, those flights of fancy.
On two or three separate occasions last night, a couple of hours apart, I awakened from a deep sleep. And I was convinced Jen was right by my side. I could feel here there. I was sure that if I spoke, she would hear me. That if she spoke, I would hear her. And I could feel a presence on the side of my head which was what I was sure in my half-slumber facilitated this certainty of connection. That presence was exactly the weight and shape of the bluetooth headset I wore as we watched the fireworks. I wasn’t wearing it at the time, but I could feel it there. And along with it, I could feel Jen.
I wasn’t sure when I started writing this morning if this was to be an ode to silicon chips or a story about my love for Jen. And I am still not sure which one, especially since both have come to infuse and enrich all facets of my daily existence. But I can say this with great certainty: While coming to love Jen has not exactly enriched my regard for technology, technology has certainly enriched my feeling of connection with her. It continues to facilitate the growth of our love for one another. And that is a pretty good thing in my Kindle™.