As part of my bi-weekly creative writing project “Non-Girly Blue” where a bunch of ladies challenge each other to write stories inspired on songs, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green rings in my head. There’s a fine line that divides love from hate they say, and even though I love this song, today I hate it. I’ve never placed any importance to “special dates” except for today: February 13th. Friday. Bad luck.
Being a day before Valentines, listening to this song has made me think about my last emotional relationship: a once-a-month-online-to-offline relationship filled with long silences, mystery, ocassional texting and quality real-time offline company. My love story was nothing like Spike Jonze love dystopia, however I honor his manifesto about digital love in the modern world. A real depiction of this complicated human behaviour: love.
I think it’s curious how we’ve digitalised our lives to the point of developing strong emotional relations with what I call “real-life binary people”. Don’t laugh. I mean it!!! they are real-life people and binary-people at the same time. They are humans and computers. They exists yet they’re only an idea because the day they (or you) disconnect, s’all gone. Vanished. Simply deleted.
It baffles me how we’ve come to hold binary people so close to our minds and so deep in our hearts. We laugh, we share, we feel, we cry… we even feel pain because of their digital behaviours: their absences, the unanswered messages… It’s shocking how our hearts and minds can find heaven or hell because of a Facebook status, a tweet, an Instagram photo, an emoticon Peace or drama depends on the ability of self-control: the “publish” or “delete” option. Overwhelming.
Another thing that puzzles me about us, real-life binary people, is how we’ve learned to “identify” and “value” the hearts <3, the happy faces :), the sad faces :(, LOL makes us laugh, T_T makes us cry (8) makes us sing, :* makes us feel kissed… Somehow we’ve learned to give them personal meaning; to think they’re unique and original when they’re so generic; to feel they belong to the real-life person on the other side of the screen when everybody uses the same generic image to express themselves; to identify them as real and forget that we use them by default…
We’ve really come to believe that these binary emotional expressions belong to the real-life binary people we’re engaged to. Really? How come generic faces on a screen can be so powerful to our hearts? Where has detail and personalisation gone? Why has real-life companion been replaced by binary code?
It gives me the shivers when I hear about real-life “always on” humans feeling alone. Thousands of friends, hundreds of likes, constantly snapchatting, sending images, voice notes and videos all day long but in the end they can’t change reality: they are alone. Binary people is not that compelling to the heart matters after all.
I was talking with one of my best friends about love when she shared with me how she used to be so careful with the person se used to love: magic was about the little personalised details: small gifts, unexpected flowers, funny calls… Life celebrated everyday through hugs, kisses, jokes and small-talk. Nothing online can replace the sensation of real-life human contact: sharing body with body, smile with smile, hand with hand. The kind of human connection that builds your love up, reconstruct your energies and reminds you that you are alive, that you are human, that you are more than Internet likes, comments and shares… you know, the real “together” Al Green sings about.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m pro and an advocate for meeting people online: the friend requests, the likes, the shares, the comments, the direct messages, the snapchats at odd hours, the funny pictures and unexpected videos… It’s funny, it’s great, it’s worth sharing so much… real happiness can be shared and experienced through this medium too… however versatile as it is, I’m still old-school and prefer real-life dating. Real life happy (and sometimes not so happy) human company.
I wish you all share some real-life happy human company every day.