Dear Long Distance Relationships: F**k You
I don’t usually write very personal things on here. Or at least not in any direct way anyway. All writing is personal to an extent I guess, and if you write anything at all you can’t really guard against your soul and persona being expressed to some degree. It just so happens that for me that expression usually occurs in some roundabout, vague way, most likely in a gushing piece about It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia or Richard Linklater, or a hungover tirade against fascists.
Well today is different.
I mean, no, I’m not not hungover, but my ire is aimed elsewhere. The tirade today is not against systems or orders. No, this target is smaller, more personal; but it’s all that I can think about today. It’s all that I have been able to think about for many days.
In short: Someone else can hang the fascists today, because right now my beef is with love.
It’s like this: I live in London, and I’m in love with a woman who currently lives in Madrid. We have a good thing, a great thing, and every day I wake up and think about it and it makes me smile. And then, promptly and without fail, eight hundred black swarming clouds descend down to rain rage and despair on my day. Eight hundred miles separate London from Madrid, and that’s eight hundred too many. Each one of those eight hundred miles is on my personal enemies list. Fuck you, Mile 7, and fuck you Mile 540. Your days will come, don’t you worry about that. You’ll be up against that wall yet.
I am not, by nature, an idle man. I write, I draw, I play guitar, I keep myself fit, I consume a fuck-tonne of culture, I go out and drink. My days and nights are as overstuffed as David Cameron’s fascist condom face (damn, look at that, made it three paragraphs without mentioning the F word). In other words: my life is an unceasing barrage of Stuff That Needs Doing. And yet still through all that I now remain perpetually distracted, because all I can think about—all I can really think about—is this person. This one person who feels so close, and yet is so far. The one person who I cannot stand being without, and who just happens to be somewhere where I cannot be.
And that fucking sucks.
To those of you who have never known what it is like to be in a long-distance relationship: may you never know. To be in love and not to be able to properly express it, in person, that’s a special kind of hell. In many ways we are lucky: the technology available today means keeping in touch with someone is easier than not keeping in touch with them. But it’s a double-edged sword. Technology enables, but it also cripples. Video calls are great. Constant, instant communication is fantastic. But in some strange way, when technology shrinks the gap it can also make it feel wider. To see someone’s face but not be able to reach out and touch it—sometimes that’s worse than seeing nothing at all. To hear someone’s voice but not be able to feel their breath upon your cheek as they speak—a deafening silence can seem preferable.
They say creative endeavours act as exorcising agents. That you vent through your art. ‘Express yourself in your work, that’s what it’s for.’ Well, it’ll be a cold day in hell when I refer to anything that I do as ‘art’, but on a day like this when I am backed against a wall of rage and frustration any pretensions of craft that might usually be present in my writing—any attempts at building something that stands up—well, they’re taking the day off. There is no re-writing going on here, no grand plan. No nuanced message. Just anger.
Fuck you, long-distance relationships.
I need a drink.