When people first heard that Brett was moving across the country, you would not believe the amount of people that extolled the virtues of "Skype sex." Even typing that grosses me out, as did the couples extolling said venture. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, appealing to me about trying to have an intimate relationship with my computer camera. I gagged lightly every single time it was mentioned to me and it was mentioned to me a lot. I now have a horrible gag reflex and a working imagination of most of my friend's sex lives. No bueno.
I hate Skype. I hate the sterility, the distance, the depression it causes. I like to touch people. I like to know that I can reach out and stroke someone's hand, or smell the scent of the coffee they are drinking, or actually look into their eyes and not a computer screen. And don't get me started on sexy video chats. The last time I tried to "be sexy" was in 1998 when I wore large hoop earrings and brown lip liner. I'm not exactly hip or natural or anything normal, really. I'm an awkward mess and I OWN IT and I hate Skype.
Or so I thought.
I made the very awful mistake of telling my Mom about Skype and even helping her set up an account. I have no idea why. I think she tricked me into telling me it was a good way for her to keep in touch with my Grandfather or something. We Skyped once as a test...and then it was all over.
The woman was trying to Skype with me. Constantly.
I would be at school and my phone would start blowing up. This was usually the succession of my mother's texts:
12:24: HEY! I'm on SKYPE.
12:25: WHERE R U
12:26: WANNA SKYPE?
12:28: I WANNA SEE UR CUTE FACEEEE!
12:32: Omg. Did I do something? u mad?!
12:35: OK! THE WHOLE FAM IS HERE! LET'S SKYPE!!!!
12:47: Melly Belly. I'm getting mad. LET'S SKYPE AND TALK ABOUT THIS.
And so on.
I had, quite inadvertently, created a monster.
Don't get me wrong...I love my mother an unhealthy amount, I just don't have the desire to video chat with her 8 times a day. I have given in and Skyped at her demand, but it is always extremely awkward. She is still getting used to the technology and ends up spending the entire session staring at herself in the camera, making weird faces, and then once and awhile she will notice me and talk about how cute (read: long,) my ears are. She also seems to think it is an around the clock thing. The other day she called me, and casually asked: "Can you see me?" I was so confused.
"See you where, Mom?"
She grew impatient and hissed into the phone,"See me...on...Skype? Can you see me right now?"
"Ok. Ma? Unless you have a 24/7 webcam THAT I AM WATCHING, no. I cannot see you. Are we seriously having this conversation?"
"Melly, you are being so rude. Ok. Fine....Can you see me now?"
This is my life.
So, this morning when she sent me her usual text message (SKYPE.SKYPE.SKYPE.SKYPENOW.) I hesitated. Did I really want to start my day off this way? Looking at the image of my mother who is looking at the image of herself...and feeling a mixture of deep homesickness and wonder that I came from something so weird and lovely? I gave in because I was hungover and too tired to put up a fight.
And then the most amazing thing filled my screen.
My Mom, wearing a bra, (thank goodness,) holding my two nephews and sitting on the couch with my sister. Everyone was in pajamas, everyone (except the kids) was drinking coffee, and for the most gorgeous of moments...I was home.
My nephew Elias is old enough to understand that 1. Computers are awesome, and 2. His Aunt is stuck in the computer and he does not know how to get her out. He calmed himself with that panic by showing me every. single. stuffed animal he owns. It was pretty epic. And my baby nephew Liam just pushed his baby cheeks up against the camera and drooled.
I've never felt more loved.
I stayed on that Skype call for a whole 25 minutes. It was just long enough for my sister to tell me I looked like shit, my Mom to say my ears are "SOOOOO CUTE," my nephew to ask me if I was still living in Californ-i-a, and Liam to produce enough liquid on the keyboard to warrant a trip to computer tech. Suddenly, my view on computer video-chatting changed. No, I would not use it to make my own version of "One Night In Paris," but it wasn't...as bad as I thought it would be.
I got to see my Mom laughing as she juggled an armful of spawn. My sister rolling her eyes at me with every thing I said. My nephew telling me a joke, forgetting the punch line, and returning with a stuffed monkey that was FASCINATING.
It was my imperfect and perfect little life...all on the tiny screen of my computer.
So, go Skype someone you love. But, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, don't do anything sexy. That shit is just weird.