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November 7, 2006

2000 Miles For Dinner - What Was I Thinking?

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man standing in airport watching plane take off through window

Photo Credit: EG Digital/iStock

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We'd only met three weeks before and had been separated by 2000 miles since then, but Jenny and I were e mailing 10 times a day, talking on the phone every night, and hadn't had an awkward silence yet. So as I awaited her response to my offer to fly across the country and take her out to dinner, I was mentally measuring myself for the maroon velvet smoking jacket I would now require as the jet setting playboy I had clearly become.

But what I thought of as James Bond ishly bold seemed to strike Jenny as Austin Powers ly not, and she declined. I reminded myself that long distance romance was something no one did well. But the physical space between us wasn't the only problem, because the toughest distance to cross isn't measured in miles, or even inches, but in the micro leaps that separate one person's reality from another's. Sometimes there's no distance as great as the thickness of a human skull, the tundra like expanse of the kitchen table, the light years between two pillows on a queen size bed. That's why every relationship can feel like a long distance one.

Like many people, I have a history with the literal kind of LDR. When I was in my 20s, I had the romantic metabolism of a housefly. I was always buzzing around my girlfriends, noisy but elusive, too close but unreachable, until finally I would hurl myself at the invisible barrier between us and end up squashed on their patios. Long distance relationships were the only kind I was capable of then-they gave me a built in excuse for my emotional zigzagging, and I was only required to show up a few times a month.


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