Even living a few, meager hours’ distance from loved ones – assuming relations are positive – at times creates longings for kitchen table gossip, a shared meal, hugs, arguments, biting humor shared between siblings alone and familiarity that lies solely within the circle of family.
Yes, long distance rates make calling convenient and affordable and e-mail and IM’ing allows for instant gratification. But living several layovers away is still…Well, a few layovers away.
HOWEVER, I am here to inform that viewing only the glum side of this situation would be a most unfortunate vantage point, indeed. For there are benefits, however few, to a continental divide.
How could that be, you muse? I’ll tell you:
I’ve bicycled past the families sitting together in Tel Aviv restaurants on Saturdays stuffing in cholent (a stick-to-the-ribs, brisket, barley and potato dish), chicken soup with matzoh balls and fried schnitzel in cream sauce. I’ve seen the miserable and longing looks on some of those family members’ faces as they see me free-wheel on past. Not meaning to gloat but: Ha Ha! This was one of the benefits written into my contract.
Friday night dinners with family is okay…Occasionally. After all, schlepping to the in-laws’ when it’s been a long day and an even longer week is….a schlep! Especially if they live a distance away. Isn’t it great that I can go to a movie on a Friday evening instead and not worry about offending anyone? Another contracted benefit down there in the fine print.
Holidays are optional. You can go for the fun ones like Hannuka and Purim and skip out on the heavier ones like Passover. Don ‘t feel like sitting through a four-hour Seder? No problem. No one to answer to. Not meaning to sound like a heretic but if there’s no one to offend and they won’t be checking up on me…
No stodgy, obligatory Saturday visits. The day’s all yours for bicycling, windsurfing, mountain climbing, hiking, sailing or sleeping.
Less grapevine evil amongst family members. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen because who are we kidding, eh? But you’re less prone to rubbishing your brother to your sister down the phone when you only speak once a week and you already feel guilty over the distance thing. Makes us all a bit more God-like.
No fighting. How can you fight with someone you don’t see? And we all know that this is a tremendous benefit; the sear of family feuding burns hottest of all because the hurts resonate deeply. Give it up? Don’t mind if I do, thanks.
Did I convince you? Good. Now don’t pick up and move on my account or anything silly like that. But if you find yourself missing your family, be sure to look over the benefits section of your contract. It helps.