Dear Super Senior,
I’ve been seeing a girl for a few months now, and just recently things have been starting to pick up. She’s a ton of fun to be around and fits perfectly into my life. Problem is, I’m leaving on a jet plane to Sumatra at the end of the quarter for a six month study abroad trip. I’m a committed guy, and I don’t want to give up on what’s turning out to be an awesome relationship, but I’ll be spending six months off the continent! What sage wisdom could you offer to a man in my predicament?
– Lucky in Love
First of all, congrats on finding someone who you dig enough to even consider a distance relationship with. That shit’s rare, which of course only makes your problem worse.
Think of what a hurricane does to two different plants in a field: a tree and a blade of grass. A tree is tall, proud and rigid, whereas a blade of grass is small, modest and flexible. When a hurricane roars through that field, the tree, tall, proud and rigid, is ripped limb from limb, uprooted and killed. But the blade of grass, small, modest and flexible, is left unharmed.
The lesson: don’t try to resist something you can’t possibly control. Instead, be flexible, and let things come as they will.
Be the blade of grass.
Anyway, here’s the deal: distance relationships are hard. And they’re hard not because of the things you know about them, but the things you don’t know.
Logistically, how will you stay in touch? Is there Internet? How often will you talk on the phone? Who pays for the long distance? What’s the time difference going to mean?
Emotionally, will you feel lonely? Will she be your one solid constant, your rock, during a time of intense tumult? And if so, what kind of rock will she be? Will she be the rock under which you take refuge, or the rock that weighs you down?
Sexually, do you think you’ll be tempted to cheat? What about her? Will she find comfort in the convenient? And what constitutes cheating, anyway?
Now, what’s funny is that the reason those questions are so hard to answer is the same reason you shouldn’t even try to answer them; they’re dependent on a huge number of variables that will undoubtedly change as things progress.
Which is why, for you specifically, I think you gotta go to Sumatra; the girl’s not going anywhere (and even if she does, that won’t matter), but this opportunity might not come again.
The reason I say it won’t matter if the girl falls for, say, your roommate, is that ultimately if she’s not willing or able (and conversely, if you’re not willing or able) to stick through six months of celibacy and 4 a.m. scheduled conversations, then it wasn’t going to work out anyway.
That is, if you really, truly want to stay together, then you’ll stay together.
Bottom line, don’t stress on it.
Be the blade of grass.
Dear Super Senior,
I have begun to frequent the Coho Salad Bar. They have many tasty toppings there, but some of my favorites, particularly artichoke hearts, have yet to make an appearance. Is there some way for me to contact the higher powers at the Coho and request some of this artichoke-y goodness?
Thank you, Wise One
– How Could They Be So Heartless?
Heartless! Well done.
Anyhow, there are multiple routes here.
First, write a note to “them.“ There’s a suggestion/comment box right next to the piano, with responses posted all around it. In fact, you should probably go read those suggestions anyway to see if your artichoke inquiry hasn’t already been answered.
Second, send an e-mail to “them.“ The Coho maintains an excellent website (coffeehouse.ucdavis.edu/) complete with menus, hours, prices and, you guessed it, a contact form. All they want is your name and your e-mail address, and you can tell them anything you want.
Third, make a phone call to “them.“ On that same contact form is a phone number. I haven’t called it, so I don’t know what it does, but my guess is that you’ll have the opportunity to speak to a voicemail box or to ask to be put through to a manager. In any case, it’s worth a try.
Fourth, send an e-mail to “a human being.“ One Sharon Coulson runs the show over at the Coho, and if you send her an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) she might be willing to consider an updated salad menu.
Also, ASUCD technically runs the Coho, so you could put in a line to President Joe Chatham or Vice President Chris Dietrich if you’re so inclined.
I doubt any of that will work, of course, since I’m old and have lost faith in the goodness of humanity. Your best bet is to actually find someone and corner them physically, because all the other modes of communication make you easy to ignore.
If that fails, just make a salad at home and save yourself some money.
K.C. CODY won’t be answering any of your questions in a column next week. But if you still want advice, fire away to email@example.com.