Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Sharon!

My sister's birthday is December 13th. When we were kids, I was aware of the fact that having this date as a birthday was a drawback on two counts. First of all, and somewhat of limited importance, her birthday sometimes fell on a Friday and everyone would be going on about it being an unlucky day. Second, and much more importantly, her birthday was only 12 days before Christmas and that invited the dreaded combo-gift situation where people would give one gift for both days rather than a separate gift for each day. It rather made me glad that my birthday was in August.

Anyway, the internet has been a great facilitator in allowing my sister and I to build up a relationship again despite distance. When I first came here, we had little or no contact because she's not much of a letter writer and neither of us had the cash for calls (nor are we necessarily big on chatting on the phone). More than the internet itself though, multiplayer gaming has been the force behind a renewed and closer relationship for my sister and I. Starting with Diablo II , we began to regularly meet up on-line to play games. The games gave us a reason to be on-line at the same time as well as a common topic to talk about. After a lot of years apart where we lost track of each other, this was an easy way to re-build our rapport.

Anyone who thinks on-line gaming is about geeks role-playing as they grow pimples and cultivate a pale, unearthly glow doesn't get the point. For a lot of people, it's about the socialization aspect. It allows you to come together in a community and relate to each other through the game. It's little different than couples who used to bond over games of Bridge or Hearts. It just doesn't require you to do it in each other's homes.

At first, we mainly chatted by typing in messages in the game and then later graduated to using talk. Now, it's very much like we're hanging out at home talking like we did when we lived in the same house. We have that same level of comfort that you have where you don't feel obliged to feel the gaps in conversation with idle chatter and you can just say things when you feel like it or just say nothing at all. Cheap computer-based talk has allowed for that and being able to do this with my sister has been immensely valuable to me in my relative social isolation since quitting my job a year ago. It's also been very nice to feel a part of my family again.

A lot of people have blood-bond-based relationships with their families and their siblings in particular. They associate out of obligation rather than a desire to be around each other but my sister is actually my friend. We have a lot of things in common and some things not so much in common but I'd want to hang out with her even if we weren't related. I wish I could be there to bake you a cake, Sharon! Have a great day and see you on!

(The above image was pinched from Nimwendil's Blog - I'd ask for permission but I don't speak the language - I hope he/she doesn't mind! Please visit the blog to see other very nice bits of fantasy artwork.)


Sharon said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Shari. Although I must admit, the fact that ANOTHER birthday has already rolled around makes me wonder where the time goes. Oh well. Talk to you later tonight.

Shari said...

My husband (who prefers I not use his name publicly but you know how he is ;-) ) quite astutely said that there's no need to wonder where your time is going...reading. ;-)