Sometimes my friends hate it when I get in contact with them.
See, I'm not great with the concept of time zones. No, that's untrue; it would be more accurate to say that I'm not great with the acceptance of the concept of time zones. Yeah, yeah, it's 4am in your world but it's 1pm in mine and I need your opinion as to whether these shoes would go with the dress I wore to dinner the night we ended up playing the bongos on Grafton St with that guy who looked like the love child of Ian Brown and the floppy-haired guy from Seventh Heaven. And you're the only person who'll know what dress I'm talking about from that description.
International friendship no longer means writing to that penpal you started a letter exchange with when you were in fourth class, lighting up their lives with riveting facts about your eye colour, the name of your diarrhoea-riddled cat and the extent of your brass pig collection. Nowadays, whether through emigration, a sense of adventure or a love of travel, the majority of us have very close friends who live overseas. They bring a special colour to your life, splashes of vivid red from Boston's home of baseball, moody greys from New York's skyline or brushstrokes of soft lilac from the Jacaranda trees under the Australian sun. And your life is better for it.
Here are five things that you'll know to be true if you have a friend who lives somewhere that necessitates a passport, currency exchange or Motilium.
- Time zones mean nothing, you always put your phone on silent before you go to sleep
If you want to actually sleep through the night and not be woken up by a cacophony of whatsapp pings and facebooks dings, then keeping your phone on silent is the only option. Look, I simply cannot be tethered by the social conventions of your time zone; if I have to tell you something, then my impatience dictates that I tell you immediately. Be flattered by this.
- You wonder how the world actually existed before WhatsApp
No one sends me text messages anymore (except the dry cleaner to let me know that my clothes are ready for collection but I prefer this slightly more formal method of communication with their automated notification machine). Judging from my social and familial circle, WhatsApp is one of those disruptive technologies that burst through the message door and changed the pattern of notifications on my phone. The litmus test of communication choice is this - text messages are reserved for those who I've never met in real life or those who are in possession of phones that have those huge, cartoon-sized buttons.
Waking up to a sea of WhatsApp notifications is an accepted part of your morning routine. You spend five groggy minutes each morning catching up with the last ten (who am I kidding, six and half) hours of your BFF's life.
And Whatsapp is like a prism; you get different information depending on the angle from which you view it. You may be in fifteen different WhatsApp groups with the same person but each group gets different information and so you have to read them all.
Embrace it, there is no escape.
- The drunken antics of one of you will coincide with the working day of the other
'Look, I know you are just about to give that huge presentation but I need you to tell me whether I want chips or toast. CHIPS OR TOAST?'/ 'For God's sake, tell that policeman you can't hang up right now because I have to show you my new dance moves and we are wasting precious time' / 'It's your fault that I find myself in this ridiculous situation. You moved overseas and left me unsupervised. What did you think would happen?'.
- You actually check your post
Mattress Mick fliers notwithstanding, there is the possibility of the postman delivering something fabulous. Because what's a card except an old-fashioned, I'm-thinking-of-you Tweet?
- Catch ups and reunions are circled in the diary months before they happen
Airports may not be favourite place (may I present Exhibit A for Agitated Airport Andrea here) but catch ups are planned with Grade A enthusiasm and excitement as you slip back into the easiest of friendship grooves.
Now if you'll excuse me I have to wake someone in Fiji and tell them about my lunchtime sandwich.