I don’t meant to toot my own horn, but I absolutely love the title of my blog. Gab Chat is not just a clever (*toot toot*), redundant play on words – it is also one of my many nicknames, bestowed upon me by my dear friends Conrad and Suzy. My partner Camille and I have been together for over 3 years, but we just moved in together this June. Here we are looking spiffy at my uncles’ wedding earlier this year.
Camille and I were practically living together for almost a year before we shared the same address. We seldom spent a night apart, which meant lots of planning, packing, and traveling from my place to hers and vice versa. It was a pain, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. On the nights that we weren’t together, we would use Gmail’s chat feature (GChat) and talk off and on for hours about anything and everything. We also used it to communicate with one another throughout the day when Camille was at work (where Conrad worked as well). Conrad and Camille were living together during this time, and Suzy was a fixture of their apartment. Conrad and Suzy saw Camille talk to me on GChat so often that they started calling it Gab Chat. From there, it didn’t take much for Gab Chat to become my nickname. It was the name that Suzy greeted me with every time I showed up to the apartment, and I thought it was hilarious due to my predilection for nicknames.
Aside from being highly amusing, I also find some profundity in the whole Gab Chat situation. Gchat allowed Camille and I to stay in touch to a degree that wouldn’t have been possible had we been using our phones. Texting can be cumbersome, and talking on the phone wouldn’t have allowed Camille and I the opportunity to be engaged with the people sitting right in front of us (i.e. Conrad, Suzy, and Lanny, my former roommate) at the same time that we were engaged with one another. It also wouldn’t have allowed for Camille to chat with me at work. I know what some of you must be thinking: “Where have you been? Have you forgotten about AIM?”. In many respects, AIM and Gchat are practically the same thing. But there’s one thing that makes Gchat decisively more awesome: video chat. It’s the same thing that makes Skype so amazing. Today we are able to not only chat with and/or audibly talk to people all around the world, but we’re also able to see them. Given that nonverbal communication often tells us so much more about what a person is feeling than words can, this is huge.
I know that I’m not making any kind of revolutionary observation here, but I think that it can be very easy for us to take the ease with which we are able to communicate with one another for granted. I believe that long-distance relationships of any kind are bolstered by the technology that many people have access to on a regular basis. A few months back, I Skyped with one of my best friends who was living in Zambia for a year. Being able to see her face made me so happy. I almost didn’t realize how much I had missed her until I was able to communicate with her like she was sitting across from me. Now, Conrad is living in Milan for a number of months, so he’s my new Skype target. As I see it, the only thing that’s really missing from the equation is touch. Get to work, developers! I want to hug my friend!