No Substitute

Dearest Rachel –

You know, if you were still here, I wouldn’t have anything to do with social media. It’s just no substitute for the real thing.

But you aren’t, and I do. It’s not ideal, but you work with what you’re given.

I was woken up this morning at twenty to six by the ping of my phone. It was Dory, another girl I’ve made a connection with, in case the long-distance thing with Yvonne falls through (like so many other already have). Even as she was texting me, I noticed her profile disappeared from the dating app. Her reply about that? “Well, a lot of scammers [are] on line, and some just come on line to play games…”

You don’t say…

Speaking of which, while she did take her profile down, I can still recall that she claimed to live in Evanston (and had owned a home [there?] for some 16 years), and had been widowed for the past three. However, when I asked her how close she lived to the (Northwestern) campus, she responded that she was staying with her mother at the moment… in Florida. And apparently, she’s working as a sales representative; whether down there or not, she didn’t make entirely clear, but I did ask if she was on vacation to see her mom, and she didn’t confirm that. So… what am I supposed to think?

Another interesting bit about our exchange: she asked me what my real name was. Now, I get that her handle of ‘findingdory123’ (actually, I forget the specific three digits, but I doubt it’s all that important) wouldn’t be real, but why I wouldn’t have used my own name – especially given its unfortunate implications, now that I think about it – never crossed my mind. But she expected that I’d given a pseudonym.

Suddenly, I’m starting to wonder if the ‘nice’ girls haven’t just looked at my name and decided to steer clear just on the strength of it alone. I keep thinking that most Americans don’t know what it means to Brits, but you can’t be sure…

I’ve stopped checking your Facebook page these days; I suppose for a while there, I was checking it more often than you used to (although you were on it nearly every day; playing Gardens of Time isn’t the same as checking your feed). I had intended to link notifications from my letters to it, but that sort of required impersonating you to set the link up, and I actually got called out on that online. So, I’ve left it fallow ever since.

I still get text messages directed at you asking you to check out so-and-so’s latest post, or add someone to your friend list. I don’t know what to do about them, so I basically just ignore them.

Speaking of getting called out online (and probably, things that I should just ignore), while Daniel claims to be enjoying Twitter that much more, what with the acquisition rumors and talk of regime change over there, it seems to be much the same as far as I can tell. Most of the same people are still out there, and the ones who promote themselves are still promoting themselves; the ones who bring receipts are still bringing receipts; and the jerks are still being jerks. It’s the rule of civilization, and free speech in particular; those of us who are civilized have to let the uncivilized be uncivilized, or there is no freedom at all.

Of course, since last week, that’s started to spill out into real life, where the right to swing one’s fist (which is perfectly permissible) meets another’s noses (which is not). I could go into all sorts of detail, but that’s politics and current events, none of which means much to you anymore – unless you count the crowd of kids that you may well be dealing with up there. It’s one of those things that we on this side have no idea about – who all is up there with you? Are you mothering them like those you dealt with in the nursery, or are you just the cool big sis you preferred to be?

How was your Mothers’ Day, come to think of it? Are the kids you meet up there a substitute for Daniel until he shows up?

One more thought about substitution – and one I had meant to lead in from conversation yesterday, except things got a little too contentious – is the subject of the convention in another couple weekends. I told you about the badges that arrived, and how I checked with the boys about whether they were interested in checking it out. Logan seemed willing, while Daniel was interested too until Logan pointed out that apparently, mask mandates – which have fallen literally everywhere else – will be in effect there, which he can’t and won’t abide.

However, since the badges are in our names, I’ve been advised (by ‘Doc’ Mui; you remember him from all those fanfiction panels and parties) to try and get a refund, rather than use the ones I’ve been given. So it looks like I’ll have to go to the convention center on the Thursday before, and see what I can do about making an exchange. In the process, I’ll probably be able to gauge just how strictly any mask requirement is actually being enforced; if we have to wear them in line for badges, it’ll be likely that Daniel won’t want anything to do with the convention after all. If not, however, well… maybe he’ll consider going, after all. He is – along with Logan – that much more into anime than I am anymore, to be honest. I think he’d enjoy it – assuming next Thursday turns out like I hope it will.

At any rate, honey, wish me luck – I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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