Over the last month my husband and I have been compiling documentation requirements for his permanent residency in the Philippines. We both really enjoy living here now, and with the new arrival on the way, it's something we seriously consider and talk about. The only downside is that we're far away from his family, a family that he's very close to. This family is also getting smaller, what with the passing of Rob's grandfather many years ago, followed by his uncle, and then his mother. And now, Rob and another cousin have moved away from the US (this other cousin moved to New Zealand to help open Blowfish Sushi there... fantastic sushi chef). We all do stay in touch via webcam and Skype (www.skype.com). Yes, technology is making this world much smaller.
The irony is that although we have all this new technology at our fingertips that enables us to communicate much more easily with others, we tend to be more isolated, more "in our own worlds". Thanks to tech, we can avoid (if we choose to) all human contact (I read something like this in an alleged letter by George Carlin that's been circulating the internet for a while now) and be a virtual island in the virtual world. We can send out for groceries or restaurant food... have clothing from The Gap delivered to your doorstep after online ordering... computer supplies from PC or Mac Warehouse ready to be shipped... or furniture from Pottery Barn all boxed up and ready to be sent to you.
As convenient as all of this is (especially in the dead of winter), it's important to still touch another person... to maintain flesh-and-blood relationships... to hold hands... to look into another person's eyes... to fall in love... to fight and make up. This kind of tactile communication is something my laptop can't give me, something I will always want and need. I mean, my computer can't put its arms around me... give me a foot massage... offer long, passionate kisses or outta-this-world lovemaking... provide intelligent and thought provoking conversation... hug me... etcetera, etcetera.
I'll always want to be touched, and to touch back. It's basic, it's simple, it's human. And sometimes, it can be pure magic.