A convenient excuse

By Kelli Stevens

You’ve heard it in songs, watched it in movies, used it as an excuse. “It” is the cliche “long distance relationships are too hard.” As the school year ends, this phrase becomes somewhat of a mantra around campus.

This mantra has been my own in a number of situations. I once struggled through long distance love for a year, only to see the relationship fall apart once the distance decreased. Twice I ended (or refused to begin) relationships for fear of the long distance curse. Three times I watched friends strive to maintain couplehood in separate countries. And numerous times I have wondered if maybe, just maybe, the courtyard separating Rundle Hall from Cas- cade is actually miles long.

And I’m not the only one who has experienced a divide due to distance.

Eight months ago, many students left their significant others and set out in pursuit of higher learning (or, at the very least, the pursuit of stereotypes like those filmed in Animal House). Unfortunately, it would be fairly safe to bet that the majority of those people took part in the "turkey drop," an autumn event which sees the demise of many couples–usually due to one person’s more passionate pursuit of the aforementioned stereotypes. Reflecting on their experiences, these turkey droppers sigh wistfully and state, with all the unworldly wisdom of their twenty-something years, "long distance is just too hard."

On the other hand, there are couples who managed to endure the obstacles put forth by a university education. Not surprisingly, these people look forward to potential reunions with their partners, but still look back on their time apart to comment "long distance is so hard!"

Unlike the tortured souls above, however, there are a number of people who relish the thought of long distance.

Take, for example, the girl about to make a move on the guy from English. Knowing he’s from Edmonton is an advantage, after all, he’ll be going home soon. If things go south, a long distance situation will provide the perfect reason to break it off.

Similarly, there are couples sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for April 30 to make their break-ups official. They have withstood weeks of wanting to cut all ties but have held off for fear of awkwardness in the cafeteria, lab or the Den. They see the end of the year as a blessing. These people can’t wait to utter the fateful phrase "I think we should stop seeing each other, I don’t do long distance very well."

Lastly, the end of the year brings new excuses for those seeking to escape an admirer. Rather than turn down dates on the basis of non-interest, singles across campus are now looking one another in the eye to say, with false sadness, "you know, that would be great, but I’m leaving in a few weeks. You’re really nice, but I don’t want to start something and then have to go. Long distance is really tough."

Whether or not your situation over 2003-2004 has fallen into one of these categories or somewhere in between, you probably know that lengthening the distance between yourself and someone else can either be a curse or a stroke of luck. My only wish is that you can look back on this year knowing it was good for you.

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