Thursday, June 13, 2013

Me Want Skype

FM and I are very easily amused people. All we need are some crappy TV shows (Ahh… Duck Dynasty) and our ever-growing DVD collection to keep our attention, and occasional access to the randomness of the internet to be happy. We have never been great technological people, and prefer trailing off to do something together rather than fiddling with our phones or tablets. Apart from our laptops, which we both kept for at least five years before recently replacing, we do not own much of anything that would prompt a burglar to even consider risking his freedom to enter the premises. Yes, I know, we are very strange twenty-somethings.

Sure, when we need a cell phone because our previous one was dropped in too many parking lots to function, we pick up the Consumer Reports magazine, like any other neurotic shopper, and purchase something that is new and exciting, but in technological terms, we are up-to-date for about five minutes before our electronics are once again ancient. By the time we finally get around to visiting the miniature mall kiosk to renew the terms or our cellular contracts and selecting a new talking toy, I swear the sales representatives see Neanderthals
meandering up to the counter; or at least that is what their wide-eyed looks seem to say when we drop our previous appliances on the counter with our giant hairy hands next to our clubs and spears and grunt about the new Galaxy.

We knew that the highest form of new-age communication we could expect while FM was in BCT would depend on the technological advancements in BIC ballpoint pens, and an occasional half-hour phone call, so updating our cellular devices to fully-functioning smart phones was not on the “top priorities” list before he left. As a result, since FM started AIT we have been texting, sending each other pictures, and getting in some quality talk time, truly maxing out the intended capacity of our devices. But, we have constantly repeated since his graduation day, “at least it’s better than Basic,” remembering the ten-week torture that was letter writing and waiting.
FM's self portrait at AIT.  Thanks sad cell camera.
Recently, when FM’s service contract was coming to an end, he decided to trade in the old slab and chisel and join the ranks of the intelligent gadget world. With such a device came the previously unavailable option for FM to talk to me via Skype. And, may I say, what a beautiful option it is! While we have used Skype previously, I have never loved or appreciated it more than I have this week. It is one thing to be able to see FM in pictures, and to send him back pictures in return, and it is another to speak to him each night, but the availability of Skype, the opportunity to see FM in motion, has not only assured me that he is still in one piece (because I sometimes doubt his ability to determine that) but places his face with the voice I hear on the other end of the line. It has been so easy to forget what a typical face-to-face conversation with him is like when we have spent so long adjusting to communicating in such an impersonal way that Skype has almost created the allusion that FM is sitting across the room from me.

We have been beaming for three days from a quick twenty minute chat earlier this week, and it comes as such a simple reminder of how much we have both grown to appreciate the small victories we take from each day. At times when this military life seems rough, when you haven’t laid eyes on your soldier, outside of photos, in weeks or months (or they haven’t seen you), these super small, straightforward, effortless little things that we would have previously taken for granted are fantastic gifts that renew our strength and lift our spirits, especially at times when we find ourselves a bit melancholy and missing each other that much more. It is a reminder that being sad does not necessarily mean not being strong, and that something great is bound to soon come along.

Knowing that we now have the opportunity to get one step closer to seeing each other with just a few screen taps may even inspire me to evolve from my Neanderthal-like BlackBerry Curve to something more compatible with today’s technology! …Maybe.

As I have mentioned before, appreciate all of those little personal things you share with your soldier, the small victories that keep you going, keep you strong, and keep you connected. They are what make this military lifestyle a moderately more manageable.

FM, you’re awesome!
"Harumphhh" -FM

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