An Old Emerson VCR
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As I write this, Kyle is watching Starship Troopers with a bunch of his buddies from Stack Exchange. It reminded me of how Kyle and I used to have movie dates when we were still living in different cities.

Kyle and I started dating when I was living in Baltimore and he’d already moved to Seattle. He was working long hours, and I was working and going to grad school, so we didn’t have a lot of time to travel to see each other. We talked on the phone pretty much every Saturday evening, and we sent a lot of e-mail.

Then one day, Kyle suggested we watch a movie together. How are we going to do that? I asked.

This was before the days of streaming services; most people didn’t have enough residential bandwidth, and there weren’t any streaming services anyway.

We each rented the same video. Saturday evening, at 9:00 p.m. Baltimore time and 6:00 p.m. Seattle time, one of us called the other. Each of us would start our VCR, and then we’d sync up.

And we’d sit there, me in the living room of the apartment I lived in in this big old house in the Baltimore suburb of Catonsville, and Kyle in his condo in Seattle, where we live now. We’d watch a movie together. We’d talk about what we were watching, sitting there watching our own VCR, being able to hear the other’s VCR on the phone, seeing a movie at the same time and connected by the telephone line.

As I’m finishing writing this, Kyle is still watching Starship Troopers with his friends from Stack Exchange. They’re talking about it on a Stack Exchange forum, and once or twice they’ve all had to pause so they could sync up again – streaming doesn’t keep time the way a VCR did.

I thought it was so sweet, that Kyle would think of us watching movies together; I don’t know if it ever would’ve occurred to me. We could spend time with each other, even when we lived 2,500 miles apart, on opposite sides of the country.


Photo credit: © 2010 Brad Montgomery, CC BY 2.0.

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