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Distance

London Eye at nightLocation: All Bar One, last Friday (5th Jan), under the shadowy glow of the London Eye.

Geoff: “So let me get this right, you mean to say that you were pissed off with me when I moved to America?”

Person-I-Was-Having-Conversation-With: “Kind of … there is an element of you moving is like you’re saying ‘You and England aren’t good enough for me, so I’m outta here’ – with the greatest respect to Leigh of course”

Geoff: “But you know that’s that not how it was like! Right?”

Person-I-Was-Having-Conversation-With: “Yeah we know that, but it is weird how when we’ve all been used to you being around suddenly … you’re not! I think it makes people act in odd ways.”

And I have to confess that I hadn’t thought of it that way. But so it would seem.

Eight months I’ve been banging on about “Me this …” and “Me that …” “I’ve been missing this …” “I’m finding this really hard …” but with the obvious exception of my mum, it didn’t really occur to me that some of my friends would in a funny sort of way be annoyed with me that I’d upped and left.

It never once occurred to me either of what having a ‘long distance relationship’ with your friends would do to those friendships – good and bad. I was too busy thinking about myself.

Some categories:

  • People with whom I’d considered myself really good friends with and had no doubt I would continue to email/talk to on the phone/etc… totally faded away and transpired couldn’t be bothered to stay in touch with me. In my mind, being a friend to someone is a two way thing, and I don’t see why I should always be the one making the effort.
  • People with whom I’d been friends with for flippin ages and figured that the friendship level would stay the same .. actually intensified a little, because like a marriage that bumbles on for several years and perhaps goes a bit stale needs shaking up. Moving 4,000 away shook up some of those friendships, and were distinctly thrilled to see me (and Leigh) when we passed through last week. One person in particular that I would have never have thought would get emotional, actually got very emotional when it came time to say ‘Goodbye’. Bless ya!
  • People with whom I’d consider myself really good mates and stayed being good mates with via email and phone these past few months acted weirdly when I met up with them again. Why? Was I not the same person that they knew back then? Had I changed? Had they changed? Did they not remember what I was like or how to be friends with me in person?
  • People that were ‘pissed’ with me (see above) that I’d gone, but were thrilled to be able to catch up with me. But still wanted to tell me that in a funny sort of way they were pissed with me. Add to this the people who very obviously wanted to say something along these lines, but couldn’t bring themselves to, but their body language gave it away.
  • People whom I’d never met (or only met once or twice) but with who I converse a lot with online, started emailing me more. They were used to dealing with me thru the ‘net and it carried on, and because more interesting to do it that way as I was no longer in the same country as them.
  • I’d like to think that in eight months I haven’t changed that much and I was pretty much the same person that people remembered I was. Or is that just inevitable – that when you don’t see someone for a long time it’s always awkward seeing them again, and knowing how to be with them?

    18 responses to “Distance”

    1. It’s not for us to be pissed off at your emigration, it’s for us to adapt to your new situation. Friends ought to be able to manage that.

    2. geofftech says:

      So that does that mean I’m entitled to be pissed with so-called friends who seemingly aren’t able to adapt?

    3. Chris says:

      I hope you’re not trying to fit everyone into a category.

    4. They’re perfectly entitled to be so if you keep using americanisms like pissed, when you meean pissed off

    5. geofftech says:

      3/4 – Not at all. Ian doesn’t fit into any of those. 😀

    6. David - Lightwater says:

      I like both the pic of the london eye (that is the RV1 bus that is in your pic, shame it’s not the hydrogen powered one I think) and the pic and link to the N-series!
      I hope you don’t have problem getting back in to the US?

    7. centraluser says:

      We’ve never met, though we exchanged occasional emails until almost two years ago. I do however soak up every letter on your blog and listen to every word on the blogcasts. BTW, I presume the UK media outlets have deleted you from their contact lists for the man to talk to on all things tube related? Regards.

    8. Richard says:

      Going from my own experience, it’s always a little strange when one of your friends acquires a new partner – you don’t quite know if they have changed. In your case, you’ve met someone new and emigrated to be with them, which is obviously a life-changing move. People are bound to react to that in different ways.

      Again, if you meet someone you used to work with, whom you’d have spoken to five days out of seven, for the first time in six months, things aren’t going to be the same as they used to be.

    9. Fimb says:

      Aot of my friendships are “long distance”, and I’m also used my friends upping and heading off to foreign climes for long periods.. The contact in these friendships ebbs and flows at different times. For me, the sign of a true friendship is being able to simply pick up where we left off, how ever long the contact might have paused for.. but then, I’m not someone who is hugely socialable and find “online” much easier to deal with than face to face!

    10. Mikey says:

      I remember when I came home from my first term at uni, and meeting up with my best mate at his house. We sat there in complete silence, as if we had forgotten how to talk and act around one another. But you soon work out how to get along with the distance thing, and it isnt a problem anymore, where it’s now like we only saw each other yesterday.

      The craziest thing. I’ve never met you, and yet I was slightly peeved that you were going to America. I read your blog for your insight into the country and life i live, and suddenly you were off to what seemed like a whole different world. I also understand what they mean by ‘You and England arent good enough for me, so Im outta here’.

    11. geofftech says:

      nullOk, i have NO idea what bus it what that was driving past – but I believe you David if you say it’s an RV1. You’ll be delighted to know therefore that I’ve added the full size image to my gallery (click on the thumbnail for it here).

      The strangest thing is still the the fact that people seem incapable of emailing me. My email address that I’ve had for the last 9 years is still the same. A couple of people have even rather bizarrely suggested, “I thought you might be Geofftech.com or something”. Er … no, why? And even if that was the case, why didn’t you email what you thought my supposed new email address was?

    12. Alan Perks says:

      All very bizarre, I think you’re still Geoff. What the hell difference does it make where you live? And a big sorry for not making it on the 2nd; it wasn’t because I don’t like you anymore(or less!), but due to family illness, BUT you didn’t reply to my last email about that!! But that’s okay too, because you were busy and exhausted(I read the blog!).

    13. Paul Webb says:

      All friendships are very different and work for different reasons.

      I had a work colleague that I got on well with who, when they got a new job, basicly refused to give their contact details on the basis that the only thing we had in common was our workplace and didn’t see any point in keeing in touch after our common interests no longer exisited. I was a bit surprised, but understood.

      On the other hand one of my closest friends moved to NZ for a few years and we bearly keep in contact aside from Xmas cards. When he came back said he was aware of this but that it didn’t matter ‘cos he was confident that when we met up again we would just pick up where we had left off. And we did.

    14. Kirk says:

      #9 – “For me, the sign of a true friendship is being able to simply pick up where we left off, how ever long the contact might have paused for..”

      I know how you feel.

    15. Joshua Curry says:

      Necessary indifference is inevitable, whether through time or ruthlessness. Man-up and endure.

      http://blog.joshuacurry.com/geniusofthecrowd.mp3

    16. Jon Allen says:

      Interesting. I’ve obviously never had enough friends to have any in the ‘pissed off you’re leaving’ category.

      The friends that visited us at New Year are friends I’ve known for almost thirty years now ( I went to school with him)
      and we still get on very well inspite of the many different countries we’ve both lived in.

    17. geofftech says:

      #12, Alan… well i wasn’t sure what to say to your email, was I? sensitive subject ‘n’ all that.

      #16, It will sound pretentious, but I think Leigh had a moment of ‘Oh my god, you know all these people?’ when everyone started pitching up to the pub. I don’t think she realise how many people I am friendly with!

    18. J-Ro says:

      you forgot people that had forgotten you’d gone until you came back…maybe it’s because you never went to the bar back then either ;o)

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