Monday, June 16, 2008

Virtually 15 Feet Away

This is an interesting article about an article about a Buddhist couple who are never more than 15 feet apart. The article about that article, penned by the witty Slate writer David Plotz and his witty Atlantic writer wife Hanna Rosin, chronicles a day that they underwent a duplicating experiment. They spent 24 hours balancing two jobs, two kids and and two very individual and usually separate personalities within 15 feet of each other. While the descriptions of David waiting outside the ladies' room 10 times a day were entertaining, it was their observations on what was gained by living the same day that I've thought about the most. It put me in mind of the way that Zebulin and I carry out a modified version of that attempt to stay connected throughout the day. We use Google chat. We work away from each other for 10 hours of the day. We chat for 9 of those hours. We give each other a play by play of the events, thoughts and feelings of our day. We plan our evening. We email each other articles or pictures we like and we discuss them on chat. If one of us inexplicably doesn't answer a chat for more than 20 minutes we know to dial 911. We've even worked through the nitty gritty of the previous night's fight on chat so that all we have to do when we get home is make up. In the evening when we face each other over dinner I've actually been known to be out of words. Aside from my favorite benefit of enabling our co-dependent relationship to continue uninterrupted by responsibilities like work, we've noticed other benefits as well. When I find something on Craigslist I can instantly derail Zeb's plans for a nice quiet evening at home, rather than springing it on him when he's tired and hungry at 6 o'clock. We tend to get more and better information from each other when we share it as we go along rather than trying to remember and sum up at the end of the day. And when my boss asks me to do something hard like open Word and print something, Zeb can instantly teach me how to do it and she never has to know how inept I am.
I'm curious to know how other couples keep in touch/stay connected in this cruel world that forces us to be apart sometimes. I remember my parents used to do it with semi-hourly phone calls. Do you still do that Mom and Dad? What about the rest of you?

6 comments:

Melanie said...

Never mind your question - I just want to say I love what I've read by Hanna Rosin! (which, unfortunately, isn't much)

Dad said...

So how did this get posted without my spotting it sooner? With your mother out of town in Boise what more do I have to do other than live through my kids and their blogs? I thought I was up to date but obviously not.
Interestingly enough, by the time I got to the office this morning and sat down at the computer, I had already been on the phone with your mother three times...once when I got up, once on the way to Jack's study and once when I left. I had no idea that our frequent phone calls made such an impression on you growing up but, yes, it is true, we still call all the time. But, interestingly enough, never IM and when we sometimes have a flurry of e-mails back and forth I get annoyed after awhile. Don't get me wrong, I love to be in touch with her, but when I get absorbed in a project at work I eventually find my e-mail annoying because it is such a constant and ever-present interruption. Now I'm curious as to the generational differences. I'd be interested in whether those of us in the "older" generation communicate with each other 1) more or less often 2) more or less in depth or 3) simply very differently.

Dad said...

I was specifically wondering how, for example...Melanie and Bryan communicate as opposed to, for example, Stan and Connie. Any takers on that question?

Mm said...

Not sure what my username is... did this work?
Mm

Mm said...

okay, I guess I am in. I was interested in the comments your dad had regarding emails. I think the annoyance occurs mainly when I make the rare appearance at the office and then send a barrage of one-line updates to projects,all in seperate emails, so his mailbox takes a giant leap in inbox postings. This is one of the drawbacks of my improved typing skills, the other being the loss of mystery in that the letters I intend to use to form words are fairly frequently the same ones I actually type.
But, in answer to your question, yes, we phone throughout the day but I occasionally send a text. The texts seem to be more one way communications... just a quick I love you ( or at times i lobe yuo). Yesterday I sent an "I love you" text to your dad, except that it was a little dark when I was selecting the recipient so I actually sent "I love you" to Pacific Winds, the music store listed above Peter in my contact list. I like to think I cheered someone who was in need of a little boost.
Did you hear about the "creepy love note" I left your dad when I went to Germany? I dressed a body pillow in my clothes and propped it up on the bed so it would not seem so lonely when Peter came home to an empty house, but all it did was scare him. That was sure a swing and a miss...
Maybe you can write a section on communications gone astray. They are fun, too.
Mm

JShaffer said...

Jon and I have often pondered how to get someone to pay him to stay home and play with Sonora and I all day..... Let's always feel this way about our marriages!