The most important conversations I have on a daily basis are with Simon. We have always talked by some form of communication. We started back in 1996, when I was in Wollongong and Simon was in Townsville, with our own channel on IRC (#chaos) where we talked about everything all the time. We moved to calling each other, Simon even buying me a cordless phone so we could keep talking when I needed to do things. I often fell asleep with the phone. Over the years that changed to emails and text messages, sometimes being able to catch up in person. Since October 2009, when we finally took the next step in our relationship, we have spoken every single day, all 935 days. There were some large phone bills, with a million texts flying between us. Emails, Google chat and our mobile phones got us through the times between when we could see each other. We also sent each other cards, or there was a note with flowers delivered to my work.
Since we moved in together, talking to each other is mostly face to face but during the day we text a lot and call each other as well. We talk about everything: What will we have for dinner? Do the cats have enough food and water? What TV shows downloaded today? How was your day? I love you. Can you add that to the shopping list? You’re going away again?!? That last one has been too common in the last few weeks with Simon travelling so much for work. It will return to normal next month and I love these, albeit brief, periods where he has been home. Our newest way to keep in touch when he is travelling is FaceTime. I had an original iPad without a camera and Simon upgraded it to an iPad2 so we could FaceTime before his first trip last month. When he is away, we try to Facetime at least twice a day – usually when we have just gotten home from work and before we go to bed. I need that face to face with him, even if he is hundreds of kilometres away from me.
Most of my closest friends live so far from me. I make an effort every day to keep in touch. Buffy and I go through phases with our friendship (I just go with it now!) and we are texting each other every day at the moment. It made me think that there is no reason I can’t do the same thing with Bestie and our friendship means so much to me, so we now text each other every day as well. I also text Jacki on a semi regular basis and Gracie has been texting me a bit more, too. To still be a part of their lives and them being a part of mine is important to me and I value our friendships very highly. Buffy and I, and Bestie and I have been friends since high school. Jacki and I have been close friends for about four years now and Grace has been in my life for the last two years.
I try to speak to my parents at least once a week on the phone. Sometimes it is more, sometimes it is less. Dad is pretty good with text messages, but Mum took to it like a duck to water! Since her phone broke she hasn’t been texting but I found out last weekend that she has a new one! The conversations I have with my parents have changed over the years and this groove we are in now makes me happy. They are interested in my life and they listen to what I say. I like hearing about how things are with them, finding out all the Ballina gossip. When we spend time together, either in Brisbane or Ballina, we talk to each, joke with each other and enjoy the time we have together.
Right now, I wish I was able to speak more to my Grandma. I hesitate to call with her schedule at St Andrews, but also with her eyes and getting around to the phone. I know I won’t have her forever and I need to take chances while I can, lest I regret it when she is gone. I have to work on this.
Beyond my nearest and dearest, I talk to my cats (more so when Simon isn’t home) and in their own way they reply. I talk back to the TV and the GPS, which Simon finds hilarious (and has been known to change the TV channel to reduce my blood pressure). I talk to my co-workers a lot, especially Danellie who I share an office with. Emails fly backwards and forwards all day, making me feel a part of something bigger than myself. I have brief conversations on Facebook with my wider circle of friends, although I don’t turn on chat. I have conversations with friends on Twitter and Instagram. I speak with the man who makes my coffee each morning. I say hello to people as I pass them in the hallways at work. I try to always be polite and friendly to people I interact with. It makes it all worthwhile when you see that you have made a difference to someone else by just being nice and smiling at them.