virtual communication can never completely replace physical proximity, of that i am fairly convinced. but i’m here to extol the virtues of virtual connectedness.here in my exile in the VOE, cut off by distance and time from most of the people who make up my family/friend support network, the internet has been my lifeline. following their lives online, from the most mundane daily thoughts and activities, to the significant events and transitions, keeps me in the loop. when i communicate via multiple online media, i’m already fairly caught up on the status of things, as if we’ve been conducting an ongoing conversation. depending on the format, i either have to think quickly and be brief, or take the time to articulate and proofread what i want to say, but either way there is instant or timely dialogue. so when i finally get the chance to make the long trip to visit, as i did this past weekend, a lot of territory and bases have already been covered, and we can proceed with the business of reuniting and picking up where we left off in person. i don’t feel like i’ve missed out on a year’s worth of experience and development. i’m still part of the process. in an ideal world, we’d all be physically closer, but this is reality. to say that the internet has distanced us from each other and the real world is not wholly accurate. we’ve already accomplished that without much digital help. and having scattered ourselves all over the globe, and found ourselves solitary and displaced, we take advantage of every possible way to network and stay connected. granted, some forums tend to break down into trivial chatter, but that’s part of human expression, too. all over the world wide web, it’s still just us hanging out, often in the only way we can. if anything, i don’t take my people for granted anymore, plus i don’t get on their nerves as much! mainly, i don’t lose continuity. so, despite the frustration i experience being from a generally less tech-savvy generation, i’m a big fan of communication technology, in the same way i approve of any essential tool that gets the job done, even if i am mechanically disabled. it’s simply an effective means to an end. in this case, it keeps me part of an extended family/community, informed, and, honestly, sane. well, as sane as i’ll ever be, here in my gulag outpost, with the zombies and ghosts. just think of this blog as my e-message in a virtual bottle. no response is anticipated, but if one comes, doing time goes faster.