One of my favorite secondhand quotes is by Henrik Ibsen (I say secondhand because I got it by way of Allegra Kent’s biography, Once a Dancer): “You never really meet someone until you say good-bye.” I thought of that because I just had my good-bye get-together in a bar/restaurant near Union Square. Several of my friends showed up over the course of the evening, and every time I bid farewell to one of them, I couldn’t help but think that might be the last time I ever saw them. It was a little morbid, and after repeating the process ten times I was in a rather dour mood.
I realize, however, that with the wonders of e-mail and social networking sites and blogs and whatnot, I will be able to continue finding out all sorts of fascinating information about my friends, and they will be able to discover all sorts of intriguing facts about me–perhaps much, much, much more than they ever wanted to know. Our relationships will continue to evolve, one way or another. To paraphrase a Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote: “I don’t want to think that I’ve said good-bye to people, so much as… gained more Facebook friends!”
Anyway, I was thinking a great deal of how hard it will be to maintain friendships mainly through the Internet, and how I’ve never done anything like that before. And then I realized I have, with Ron. I am looking forward to living in Taipei, becoming fluent in Mandarin and being reunited with my fiance. We’ve been apart for 18 months, and in a way it has felt like my life is on hold until Ron and I are together again. But I am, obviously, sad about leaving the city and my friends. I’m a bit introverted and shy with most people, so I don’t take any of my friendships for granted. I feel like I’ve slowly cultivated all these wonderful relationships over the last eight years, and now I’m abandoning them. But, to quote the biography of Suzanne Farrell, George Balanchine’s greatest muse (oh boy, I will also miss the NYC Ballet): “You can have everything you’ve ever wanted, just not at once.”
Then again, Farrell didn’t have Web 2.0