Ask anyone in a long distance relationship, be that DIDO, FIFO or any other kind, and they will tell you that one of the keys to making it work is communication. The trouble with working FIFO is that often, due to internet connection, time differences and shift work, it can mean a lot of this communication is via text rather than talking.
Of course we are lucky that there are so many ways to communicate now (we’ve come a long way since patchy satellite phone calls) and for the most part texting is fine. A quick message to say, ‘What are you doing?’ or ‘How was your day?’ is easy enough, but it’s not exactly the best way to convey emotion.
I usually like to think that Mr Miner and I have got it all figured out when it comes to communication.
We know our schedules and what time to call, we give each other space when we’re too tired to talk, we don’t put too much pressure on having to have a conversation if we don’t have much to say and we always try to have one good, long catch up call during a swing. But this last week we’ve had a major communication failure.
I’m sure everyone at some point has received a text where they’ve been confused by (or worse still, misunderstood) the emotion behind it. Are they really angry with me or are they joking? Is that a sarcastic smiley emoji or do they really think that dress looks nice?! Sometimes you just wish you could read their facial expression, or even just hear their tone of voice so that you could know exactly what they’re thinking.
There are some times when text just isn’t the right medium for communication, and then there are times when technology fails completely… which is what happened to us this weekend.
It all started with a simple conversation about whether we want to move house or not. I wrote what I thought was a simple enough text and he responded with a one word reply, ‘What?’
I will say now that Mr Miner has many strengths but written communication is not one of them. Have you ever written a text when you’ve had a few drinks, realised that not all the words are quite right, then decided rewriting it properly is just too hard with your wine-goggles on, and sent it anyway? Well it feels like Mr Miner texts like that at all times!
His seeming allergy to punctuation and unwillingness to either read or use it does get the grammar-Nazi in me fired up. It can also lead to some interesting interpretations and sometimes I think I may have an easier time deciphering semaphore than one of his messages.
So, needless to say, when I received this response I didn’t have much patience, thinking he was just reading it wrongly.
‘What, what?’, I replied.
‘What are you talking about?’ I received in return.
As he was at work this conversation took place over several hours, with each of us getting more frustrated with every response. Shouty capitals and offensive emojis were thrown around like grenades over the treches, phones were slammed onto sofas in exasperation (don’t you miss the slam of a landline?) and crankiness took over. Until finally one of us cracked:
‘I’m done talking’, he said.
‘Sounds about right’, I lobbed back in response.
And then radio silence, both of us raging…
Until, ‘beep, beep’, I offered my phone an angry sideways glare, only to see a screenshot from Mr Miner. This should be good, I thought (of course knowing I was right the whole time). But when I compared his version of the message to mine, it all became clear. Our phones are trying to split us up!
And then I cracked up laughing, because what else can you do with something so ridiculous? I replied with the version from my phone and then we are all ok again, a united front against our terrorising technology.
No matter how far we’ve come since the patchy satellite phone, it just goes to show that sometimes it really is good to talk!