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Long Distance Relationships Do Work!
How Technology Brings Distant Lovers Just a Little Closer
-For Kim and Patrick-
We've all heard the saying "long distance relationships never work," but is that really the flat and unchangeable truth?
Far from it.
Faced with both first and secondhand experience in such matters, along with a mountain of evidence to contradict even the most jaded and lovescorned individual, this writer is inclined to believe that they work out more often than we might think.
Consider, if you will, the advances in technology that have brought people closer and closer together (no matter the physical distance involved) over time- from the first means devised to send all those sappy love letters written between soldiers in the field and their sweethearts working in factories back home to the new role that cell phones and computers are taking in keeping lovers, both young and old, from going a day without hearing those three special words that have perhaps started as many wars as they have brought to a screeching halt, the words "I love you."
So what do you do if you find yourself in this age-old predicament, wrapped up in a man or a woman that is literally so far away it hurts? First of all, don't panic, and don't listen to the doubts of others- love is perhaps one of the strongest emotions we can experience as humans, and when it's real, it doesn't just dissipate as easily as the skeptics might have you believe. Second of all- if you've got the internet or a cellphone (most people in this day and age do, and if you're reading this, chances are you've at least got some way to access to the web) use it. A little email telling that special someone just how special they are goes a long way toward keeping a relationship steady, and longer emails are a great way to really let someone know just how much you care. But don't stop there; a good cellphone plan will get you free nights, weekends, and a big chunk of anytime minutes on the side, meaning you can leave each other short, sweet little messages or talk for hours on end about anything and everything without the big scary bills that come with land-lines. Going a step further, a camera phone or, better yet, a cellphone with videophone capability can provide an additional sense of closeness, allowing you to actually see the one you love instead of just talking to them. And hey, when it comes right down to it, there's nothing wrong with going with the tried and true once in a while too. There's a certain something, a sense of permanence and sentiment that comes with getting a real letter on real paper delivered by a living, breathing member of the postal service; sure, you can fire off an email and your sweetheart is sure to get it in ten seconds flat, but it's still just a piece of digital flimflam on a computer, no matter how sentimental it is. Taking the time to do something more traditional is always a great way to put a smile on your sweetheart's face.
There are, of course, other long-distance ways of letting that special someone know you care; with love being another integral part of the human condition, albeit one that often makes people willing to bend Heaven and Earth just to be together, there are hundreds of industries and delivery companies out there more than willing to offer their services in keeping the love fresh between couples forced apart by whatever obligations might bind them. From roses to candy-grams and a dozen other things (or more) in between, the internet is full of sites where you can pick something out for the one you love and usually have it delivered the next day without spending an arm and a leg on shipping.
But even with camera-phones, email, and flowers on demand, not to mention every other device and service out there to keep you and the one you love connected, there's still a lot to be said for actually being there; while scientists are still working on forms of instant matter transmission (teleportation), faster ways of flying paying passengers from point A to point B with a minimum of cost, and even some creative types of virtual reality systems or equipment, technology does have one final thing to offer the long-distance couple in this day and age: cheap airfares.
Okay, so nobody wants to get up at four AM (or earlier, depending on how close the airport is!) to deal with the disturbingly nazi airport security people and catch a red-eye flight on some dingy, low-budget air carrier that charges five dollars for snacks, but if it's cheap (and depending on when you buy the tickets -far in advance or on the eleventh hour, as it were, when they're scrabbling to fill those last few seats- it can be quite inexpensive!) and it means the difference between spending the weekend with your sweetheart or spending it alone, stuck behind a desk in the office, do something sporadic and romantic to let that special someone know how much you really do love them, and that you're not just saying it.
Airfare not cost effective for the distance involved? With rising (and already nuts!) gas prices, rental yards all across the United States (i.e. Budget, Enterprise, etc.) are starting to pick up hybrid cars, so if there's only a few hours of driving distance between you and the one you love (instead of a few days) pick up a car, grab a bouquet of fresh flowers, and surprise them at home, work, or just about anywhere else that seems romantic and sweet. Either way, it'll be a weekend well spent. (Especially considering the alternatives!)
So remember- just because the distance between you and the one you love might seem insurmountable at times, stick with it, have faith, and take advantage of the many forms of technology out there to aid you in keeping in touch. And if someone tells you that long distance relationships never work, give them the old one-two with an equally classic line like "Distance makes the heart grow fonder," or "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger." Follow your heart, not society's whims and preconceptions, and remember- where there's a will, there's usually a way, and technology can help make that way a reality.