My partner and I live 2760 miles away from each other. We almost entirely communicate through technical mediators–Skype, our phones, Gchat, email, and the emotional content we share through silly images and videos and articles. None of these media reward long-windedness, so we’ve grown introductory phrases which let the other know whole paragraphs of context without having to say it.* Here are some of our leitmotifs (as with any post about our relationship, Matt’s given his consent for me to share this):
- Call? This is the most common way I start a chat with Matt. I vastly prefer live, voice-to-voice if not Skype-face-to-Skype-face communication to texting. This lets Matt know I want to talk, but nothing terribly urgent is happening. If he gets this at a time when we’re not scheduled to chat (we have 3pm and 8pm EDT call-times on both of our calendars), it probably means there’s something slightly urgent I need him for. (Something urgent might be: I miss him).
- I need spousal support. This is nearly always jokingly texted or said as my opener to a phone conversation. For example, last week I was sick and needed to buy a blanket. I was at TJ Maxx, trying to decide what comforter to buy and was simply too congested to think straight. So I called Matt and asked: “Do I like paisley?” “Maybe? I don’t know.” “What about grey; do I like grey?” “Go home, love.” “No. I need a blanket.” “You don’t mind grey.” “Ok, I’ll buy it.” (Which is why I am now nice and warmly wrapped up in my grey, paisley comforter.)
- Walk me home? I started this one in college, when I had a mile or two walk home at the end of every school day. Even though Matt isn’t actually with me while I’m walking, by chatting about the tiniest silly things, he keeps me company and we keep our communication normal and non-urgent.
*This is what a leitmotif does in opera (or, you know, Doctor Who). It’s a musical phrase which reminds the audience of everything we’ve known of a given character before, getting us ready to jump into their story mid-stream without having to pause the action for exposition (or, as we see in Game of Thrones, sexposition).
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”–Eric Fromm