My husband is in Egypt, visiting museums and monuments, having dinner with Zahi Hawass and Omar Sharif; staying in gorgeous, historic hotels (but not pigging out on their lavish breakfast buffets, as I would); meeting with colleagues; and risking his life in cabs. Egyptians drive like maniacs but are usually good-natured about it, honking their horns with joyous abandon. It's a lot like riding in bumper cars.
Aside from Omar Shariff* and all those lovely Egyptian pastries (their love for sweet stuff rivals my own), I don't feel like I'm missing out. I've been to Cairo three times and I've seen almost everything. I just miss my husband. He professes to miss me.
So we Skype at least once a day. Our laptops have cameras, so I've seen his hotel room and heard all the details of his days. I have shown him snow falling on our street, the cats, and even this goofy ornament I found at Anthropologie:
He said it appears as big as a vulture on Skype.
It will be weird to have him come home without tons of news and experiences to share; we're already at the point where we have companionable silences on Skype and I suspect we're both surfing the web and checking email sometimes as we chatter. I'm not complaining: I'm grateful that we can stay in close contact, and I don't even mind being on camera anymore.
In fact, he was complaining the other day — about how my image was pixilating, or something — and I couldn't understand it. "This is a MIRACLE!" I said. Or, rather, yelled. "We are seeing and talking to each other while we're 5,000 miles apart, and it's FREE, and you're COMPLAINING?" In the old days, which were not all that long ago, I'd be waiting for days in hopes of a postcard or airmail letter from him. Even a phone call from Egypt was an extraordinary event. Now I can tell him that he looks tired and his hair is messy. It feels natural and ordinary but it's still miraculous.
It's still foolhardy for die-hard Patriots fan to go to Egypt in January, however. American sports broadcasting is not as state-of-the-art as Skype. Tomorrow is the big showdown with the Jets, Belichick vs. Desenex Rex Ryan, as my husband insists on calling the footsie-loving, trash-talking coach. The game begins at 11:30 pm, Cairo time, and apparently there's no way he can watch it in his hotel. He paid for streaming NFL audio service to follow it radio-style, but it turns out that even that won't work in Egypt — not enough bandwidth.
So we're going to try to Skype during tomorrow's game. I'll point my laptop's camera towards our 32" TV screen and we'll see what he can see.
Fingers crossed, for both Skype and the Patriots.**
* Husband says Sharif is still devastatingly handsome and charming at 77. Gentlemen of that age can have great finesse when it comes to flirting, and good stories to tell. Damn!
** Update: Skype 1, Patriots 0. My husband and I both watched the game on our TV even though he was 5,500 miles away. Too bad the Jets won.