Love is never easy.
Anybody can tell you that, from the person wondering if he’ll ever find his soul mate, to the long-married couples still facing the daily challenges of living with someone who may or may not share their love of clutter. Technology has made it much easier in many cases, increasing the opportunities for communication. Gone are the days of kissing your spouse goodbye before heading off on a business trip and not speaking for possibly days at a time.
No, today’s world has made it extraordinarily easy to say what we want to say, to whom we want to say it, right now.
There’s a part of me that feels kind of bad for kids these days because of this. First forays into love seemed to unravel at an infinitely slower pace before all of these devices came about, before this culture of immediate gratification. And there’s something to be said for the waiting... the hoping...the wondering...the anticipation. It seems that technology, while on one hand simplifying our lives, on the other effectively wipes out butterflies with the push of any number of buttons.
In my day, crushes were different. Oh, sure they started the same way, something like, in my case, girl sees boy, girl thinks boy is cute, but there the generations diverge. In mine, it went something like this: Girl tells best friend she thinks boy is cute, girl’s best friend tells boy’s best friend that girl thinks boy is cute, boy makes eye contact with girl for first time, girl spends days discerning meaning of eye contact, girl gets frustrated and asks best friend to discreetly pass note to boy’s best friend that reads “Do you like Maggie? _____ yes or _____ no,” boy’s best friend delivers note to intended boy, boy responds one way or the other, unless it’s that jerk who thinks he’s too cool to respond at all, and then you just cross him off your Sadie Hawkins list—wait. Where was I?
Yes, young love. We analyzed every look, every spoken word, and if we were lucky enough to get a note, every word in that note. We crafted our own notes for hours—days, sometimes—to ensure that we said exactly what we wanted to say, nothing more and nothing less.
And then there was the dreaded telephone, of which everyone had only one, the kind with a cord (ask someone to explain it if necessary) and no little window to announce who was calling. When it rang, people lunged for it, hoping it was for them. Never was there more disgust than when calling for a sibling the fourth time in one night—“It’s for you. AGAIN.”
But oh, the joy when someone else answered and called your name. . . followed by the exquisite agony of the walk to the phone, wondering if it’s the boy. This was in turn followed by the guilty disappointment upon hearing a friend’s voice, or the annoyance of hearing a boy’s voice when you were hoping it was a different boy. The waiting, the anticipation. . . all part of the experience.
Now, of course, we have cell phones in hand by sixth grade (or earlier) that announce not only who’s calling, but where the caller is on a map. We have voice mail to take our messages. And if we can’t talk on said phone, we can text, or IM, or post a status update on Facebook or Twitter and still garner immediate reaction. Skype and FaceChat allow visual chats via computers and phones 24/7. Kids have access to each other in myriad ways every hour of every day. They may think it makes things easier, but they don’t know what they’re missing. . . and what I’m afraid they’re missing is what it feels like to wait.
Love is never easy, no. But I do miss the days when it was simple.
Maggie Lamond Simone is an award-winning writer and mother of two living in Baldwinsville. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.