"I think you broke your friends, dear," read the tiny screen after a trill. I thumbed my agreement on the blackberry keyboard. We were both quite surprised by the row my entry had caused.
When I wrote it, I hadn't given it much thought. The words buzzed around my head like summer gnats. I could only banish them complete by committing them to paper -- physical or otherwise. I was feeling profoundly giddy when I hit the submit button, I doubted anyone would take me seriously. I put these thoughts aside and focused on work for the remainder of the afternoon. In fact, I hadn't received a single message about it until I was leaving the office.
As I crossed the threshold of my office elevator on the bottom floor, my phone trilled. A text message? My first guess turned out to be correct: On the other end of the planet, on the continent of Australia, someone had just pressed the send key. It's nice to know that at least one person seems to understand my bizarre brand of humor.
Bizarre humor was in fact how we met. A year ago I had been spending the weekend working on one project or another. I had Star Trek: The Motion Picture on in the background. This is typical behavior for me. Often music is too distracting and silence too intimidating to aid in the creative process. As a result, I often choose a movie I enjoy but know far too well to require my attention. In my concentration, I often forget the movie entirely, only to be reminded in odd, surreal moments when a particular line of dialog strikes me out-of-context.
"The crew," same a blubbery Scottish accent, "hasn't had nearly enough Transition time with all the new equipment." I couldn't contain my laughter at Scotty's unintentional transgender double-entendre. Who knew that we were so prevalent in Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future! I opened a web browser and made a short post. Some days later, she left a comment and friended my journal. I decided to give her's a look.
I almost never friend a journal outright. I think it wise for me to review it first, not only to see if I feel I could trust this person, but also if they're interesting enough to add to my menagerie. Her entires betrayed a person of both writing and astronomical inclination. Occasionally peppered with silly humor. I added her to my friend's list in return.
Nothing much happened for the next nine months. She occasionally commented on my entries, I occasionally commented on hers. It wasn't until sometime this summer things took a left turn. I was in the basement of a longtime friend watching the Rifftrax edition of 300. I was in the middle of feverishly writing a class for an impromptu client and had brought along my laptop to work. 300 was in fact the second film of the evening, I had already given up working and had struck up a conversation with her.
My interests were initially anthropological. I new little of the land down under, and was curious about the culture. My feeble American experiences provided little except flashbacks of Crocodile Dundeee I had watched two lifetimes ago. Over the last few weeks we had shared a few conversations revolving this subject. As the conversations continued, however, I became more and more curious about her. It struck me that evening in my friend's basement, I wanted know what she looked like.
She didn't have to explain her reluctance to offer a picture. I understood all too well what Harry Benjamin Syndrome does to one's pride in one's own appearance. Still, for whatever reason, I wanted a face to match the conversations. I didn't expect her to acquiesce. I think I startled her a bit with my exclamation; she has nothing to worry about her appearance.
It was only a while later that I started to become curious about her voice. Voices have a special power over me. If a voice has the proper timbre and resonance, I'd be gladly carried to Elysium upon it. I didn't want to force her into the prospect. Like exchanging pictures, a voice conversation carries a particular level of personal information that not everyone is comfortable with. My curiosity, however, continued to hound me. Some weeks later she acquired a headset and we held our first Skype conversation: Elysium, here I come.
Throughout the rest of the summer we held a battery of conversations. I was working constantly in North Carolina by then. I couldn't use IM through the client's firewall, so instead we held conversations through my blackberry. We often held voice conversations in the evening over the hotel's spotty network connection. Sometimes, the coversation was quite active. Other times, hours could go by with nothing but the occasional mumble as we worked on our respective writing projects. Just knowing she was there was a comfort.
Our voice chats still continue to this day (as a matter of fact, I'm considering suggesting one soon after I complete this entry). Just last night we began to make the next technological leap -- video. I confess that my webcam is still in the mail, but it should arrive soon.
My post yesterday was not completely off the cuff. We had been discussing living with each other and marriage for the last few months. We both agreed that it's best to wait. After all, we're not sure if we'd drive eachover crazy sharing the same place! Furthermore, she's currently attending classes and it's better to complete that first before doing anything rash. Legally, we'd face more than a few problems. Until one of us has our documentation fixed, legal marriage isn't possible. I'm certainly closer to that prospect. Australia also has rediculous laws reguarding post-op transsexuals. One of which is that you can't get a passport that's valid for more than three months. A degree of ingenuity is required to make this work.
We're considering our options, but nothing more is likely to happen for a year or longer. Even if we were to find a way to share an apartment, ideally we'd still wait a while before offically tying the knot, if at all. Right now it seems strange for us to realize that words like "engaged" and "fiancee" now apply to us. Perhaps the trappings of Western bonding ritual are lost to us. Even rings seem blandly conventional! Even so, it's too far out into the future. But hopefully, a future that is shared.