As I write this, my partner (life/civil/husband – you choose) is flying back from a business trip abroad. It’s a long flight across several time zones. It’s something he has done many times. Once we did it together.
Experimentation, and a hint from the internet, has taught him that the best way to minimise jet-lag is to switch his eating routine back to UK time, and then stay up all night on the last night so that he can sleep on the plane.
On this trip he bought a new 4g hub which makes internet communication much easier. Text charges to and from the UK can quickly mount up so we use a messaging system called ‘Line‘. It runs on desktops and mobiles, which means we can keep in touch at any time, and it gives you icky stickers to send so you have a virtual branch of Clintons Cards at your disposal for those moments when words are just not enough. It means that no matter how busy our days are, we can feel that we are together.
We also use Line to set up Skype calls. I’m old enough to remember red telephone boxes that you put old pennies into with buttons marked A and B (press button B to get your money back if the operator failed to connect you). On the phone, you were acutely aware that time was money and you had to get your conversation over before the pips went and you either had to put more money in or face being cut off. That was in Enfield, where we had one of the last surviving manual telephone exchanges. Now, it’s possible to maintain a video connection from one side of the world to another with no thought about cost.
That’s how we found ourselves connected last night. He was packing in his hotel room, while I played tracks from my Spotify collection to keep him awake until it was time for him to walk round the corner to pick up the airport bus in the early morning.
There weren’t any deep angst-ridden moments. It was basically the same-old same-old: I busied myself doing a couple of things while he got ready for a trip. We just exchanged the occasional word. And it was wonderful.