The boyfriend used to live in the States, so whenever I phoned him, I would get that familiar American single long ringtone, not the quicker double ringtone we have in the UK. He’s long since moved back to Blighty, but every time I hear that tone, in a tv show, I get the same apprehensive, heart-thudding feeling all over again. Evoking the anticipation of joy. I’m pensive. The next ten minutes has to last me all week.
Like an old dial-up tone. Have I got an email? Are they in the chatroom?
I cannot wait to hear his voice. 11am there, 4 pm here. I’ve busied myself all day to pass the time until I can ring him. If he’s not expecting my call, what if he’s out, hung over or just woken up?
This was in the embryonic Internet days, not the immediate, free luxury of communication we have now. It was still more than my parents had. Whenever Dad was working abroad, he would arrange to ring Mum at a local phone box or friend’s house on a certain day and time. Kids looked after by a friend, she would wait. If he didn’t call, the next letter would have the revised time and date of when they could possibly next speak.
I have a true friend, whom I have never met. I’ve known him for 10 years but I don’t even know what he looks like. He’s an artist in Finland and I have one of his prints on my office wall. That how we got chatting in the first place. I emailed the address on the back of the print to thank him for creating something so beautiful and we just carried on corresponding. His wife died twelve years ago, but if there has been anyone else in his life since, he’s never mentioned it and I have never asked. He has a dog called Lenni and they go on walking/boating holidays.
We spend time together chatting online about the weather, or what we’re watching on Netflix. We pick a series and watch it an episode at a time. It would feel like cheating to watch another episode before we’ve discussed the last one. I win twice as often as he does when we play each other online at Scrabble. His English is perfect, so I don’t feel I have an advantage. He says the internet changed everything in everyone’s life in the remote village where he lives. He knows what I look like because he’s read a magazine that had one of my stories in.
I imagine him reading out loud the postcards from my holidays in America. He went to Iceland for his 50th birthday with his daughter, but that’s the only country outside of Finland that he has really been to. I don’t think he’d like Las Vegas or New York very much. The birthday cards he sends me are always original tiny watercolours by him or another of his artist friends. He reads my restaurant reviews on Squaremeal and he sends me pictures of fish, foraged greens, bread that looks like wood and berries as a joke. I send him samples of face cream for his dry, windchapped face, and he sends me cuttings of a cartoon he draws for the local paper. The jokes don’t translate well though but I think maybe I just don’t get them.
Without doubt he is one of my best friends. He means more to me than most people I see ‘in real life’ and I am absolutely certain we will never meet. It would break the spell.
This isn’t my first attempt at a blog and so far, I’ve had five twitter accounts. FB didn’t really suit me, and I have no idea what the snap apps are about. I don’t do selfies and rarely take pictures of my food. I had a theory that I was on social media way too much, so every time I got to 1000 followers or 10,000 posts, I would delete my account and do other stuff, like crafting, until I got the bug again, gave in and created myself a shiny new account. This is, however, the first time I’ve had a WordPress account, and I follow tons of people who use it, so I guess I’ll get the hang of it pretty soon.
I’m not expecting many readers or followers. I’m not really doing this for that anyway. It’s more of a personal challenge. You know in that Scroobius Pip song, “Death of the Journalist” where he says that he meets so many people who like being writers more than they actually like writing? Well, I’m the other way round. I write ALL the time. It’s just that I don’t write anything very specific. It’s all twitter posts, diary entries, etc. No novel in progress. I’m a big letter writer. I still have penfriends. I know, a dying breed. But the love letters in the shoe box under the bed between me and him had to actually cross an ocean to reach each other. Imagine. One or two sheets of that tissue paper, taking days to reach the other side of the world, and then they get to read your mind whilst you sleep. Emails don’t quite have the same feeling.
I’ve been wondering lately whether I need to stretch myself a bit more. That’s both physically and metaphorically. Walking to work and a bit of yoga for the physical part. That’s a whole other post. But for now, I’ll just concentrate on this. Hell, if I can write on Twitter for hours at a time, I can give this a crack.
Thank you for visiting. Please let me know if you enjoy my ramblings! Nx