That Damn Distance Thing - 07.10.00

While the web is truly something that is international and has no bounds, I've discovered that over the course of the last 9 months or so that there are things about it that I wish I could change. Don't get me wrong, I think it's amazing that I can have discussions back and forth with people from Russia, Iceland, Canada, and other parts of the United States but the problem also lies within that very statement.

Although it may sound somewhat silly to someone who isn't as entrenched in the web world, I would consider a lot of the people that I've been e-mailing over this time to be friends. While many of the discussions have started out with a simple e-mail (either from them to me or me to them), a couple times they've grown into something completely more than simple "how are you doing?" type of e-mails.

To give you a few examples of this, I'll run over a couple scenarios that have played out. During the late part of 1999, I had just gone through a breakup and was feeling kind of blue in general (if you do some back reading, you'll probably be able to tell from the tone of my writing). Not only that, but my best female friend in the town where I live got a job in a different city and I started seeing less and less of her.

It was about this time that I received e-mails from two different girls who were just making friendly comments on my site and bridging the gap to say hello. As I do with every letter I get, I wrote both of them back and they in turn both sort of became confidants of mine. Sometimes the e-mails were flirtatious, while other times they were a spilling of things that were going on in our lives that weren't the greatest. One of them in particular became what I would consider to be my best female friend at the time and we discussed our lack of relationships and frustrations and dreams.

It seemed that the next logical step was a phonecall. Although I felt kind of strange about doing it, we exchanged phone numbers for a random conversation at some point and the next thing I knew, I was talking to someone whom I'd only seen pictures of on the internet and whom I'd read so many words by on e-mail. Naturally, I felt slightly off-guard for the first few moments, but everything fell into place and I felt like I was talking to an old friend after not much longer. The very same thing happened with the other girl at a later date and even now I talk with them occassionally.

Of course, those are probably the most serious examples of my e-mail contact (because we've actually heard each others voice), but I've also had interesting conversations with a film studies guy, a music video director/photographer/dj guy in iceland, and a psychology major girl who's into photography (I was a psychology major in college before I turned to photo). Even though our conversations haven't touched on as many deep things as some of the others, I still think it would be a great time to just sit down and share lunch with

Now, going back to the original part of this piece, there really isn't a problem with any of the above, except for the fact that after I've had conversations with people, I think that it would be great to meet them. Right now, I'm living in the middle of the United States and the _closest_ person that I've started up any sort of serious conversation with lives about 15 hours away driving time.

At some point, I'm sure I'll meet one or more of these people that I've first met on the internet (without all the seemingly negative connotations that such a statement usually brings with it). I've thought about planning a cross-country trip at some point where I just visit a different person every couple days or so and check everyone off my list that I've spoken with, but I really don't have the time or money for that right now. Until then, I guess I'll just have to have my e-mail friends in Vancouver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco while I have an e-mail crush in New York.