Well, I’m back to work after slightly more than a week’s worth of vacation. Apparently, I picked the right week to be out – production was slow, but the coordination of other things was intense. Having the time out was wonderful. It was shared with almost all those that I consider to be real friends, and as always, it ended too soon. We gamed, and gamed, and talked, and gamed, and toured, and reviewed the first draft of Coralius’s book, and talked. These are the people that I actually miss when they aren’t here. One set is close by (Coralius and Aradia), and the other (Caliban and someone who doesn’t have a regular alias, whom I shall call “K”, until she gives me a decent option) lives some distance away. Even so, when any of us are together, it’s as if someone just left the room and came back; we pick up right where we left off. I’ve seen a conversation continue with months in between exchanges.
That brings up one of the stranger aspects of our relationship. As much as we miss each other, and love being a part of one another’s lives, we don’t actually talk much when we’re apart. Virtually all our interaction is face-to-face. I occasionally shoot an email or blog comment to Coralius, but it’s the dinners and game nights where we actually get into some depth. I rarely speak with Aradia outside of being with her, unless she’s calling to speak to my wife (note: alias shall henceforth be “Amberle”) and I get the phone, and that’s not usually deep conversation. As for the non-locals, we rarely even exchange emails. We don’t call, except when planning a trip, and even then, it’s often along the lines of “We’ll be there Friday.” I’ve spoken with Caliban about this before. He said that they find it odd, as well, but that it also happens with other people they know. What it seems to do is encourage us to get together as much as possible. Given gas prices, that’s getting harder. Ultimately, it won’t stop us, though.
There was a hint that the “distant” couple is considering a move down, should opportunity arise, and there was much rejoicing (at least in my head; while I’m not exactly a stoic, I don’t do a lot of jumping up and down, either). They’re both talented professionals, and shouldn’t have much of a problem, other than finding exactly what they want. Hell, I’d probably hire either of them before I’d hire myself. I’m likely to find myself networking for them (as if I had any real connections).
In any case, the time was too short. Being with these people is my idea of paradise. When it comes to people, I don’t need many. I have my wife and children; my father and brother. Then, there are these people, who are more family than any of my other blood kin. Aside from my grandparents, who have all passed away, none of my “real” extended family ever showed me a need to stay connected with them. There’s bickering, theft, dismissive attitudes, airs of superiority, and passive-aggressive behaviors that make the Cold War look nice and friendly. That’s blood. There’s a bond there, but I don’t have a lot of reason to pursue it. While that might have brought some shame in the past, especially because my parents worked so hard to document my family and their history, it doesn’t now. The history is important to me; the present, not so much. I have dozens of cousins, some old enough to be my grandparents or young enough to be my own children. I’ve pretty much left that clan behind. I’m friendly when I see them, but lacking that interaction doesn’t really harm me in any way.
I guess one way of looking at it is that the world has opened up new possibilities, but a lot of them haven’t taken the opportunities that are there. As can be said by many younger mountain people, I got out. I wasn’t even that far in to begin with, but I still left the old, clannish ways behind. So much of my family, as spread out as they are, still lived within that network of shared bonds. It held them back from ever discovering much outside the network. My personal network is smaller, but I think it’s better.