The distance between us

We were afraid to fully commit to each other. It was agreed that, given the circumstances, it would be best if we remained as friends. We knew it would be difficult, considering there was already the tension of affection between us. It was so apparent that our friends even encouraged us to make it ‘official’, but we resisted. For a time at least. We knew that whatever we started would only be ripped apart when she moved overseas in a few months.

It wasn’t long before we caved, or rather, I caved. We’d spent too much time together and one night I decided to go for it. Without a single thought as to what it would eventually come to.I leaned in and kissed her fully on the lips. A few days later we were officially ‘official’. We were happy together, but I had broken our agreement. She would be leaving soon for a far away country, and I would remain here, half a world away.

We’d discussed the option of a long-distance relationship and had eagerly coaxed ourselves into it. Crazy in love, we couldn’t imagine being apart and thus continued in our gamble at love. We became the cute, soppy couple that stared intently into each other’s eyes, whispering sweet nothings as if trying to one-up each other in our little love game. We became the couple that people didn’t like to look at. We made others feel uncomfortable in our presence and we were proud of it. It was a mark of our dedication to each other. We weren’t embarrassed or shy about ourselves. Nor did we care what anyone else though of us. We had a special kind of love. The kind of love that’s intensely wonderful in its way of enhancing life. The kind of love that might have lasted.

That’s when she left.

Each day grew tougher than the last. We’d promised to call when we had the time, but without her by my side it became easy to forget the love we had once shared. In completely different time zones, we lost sleep trying to make our long-distance relationship work. Our sleep deprivation lead to short tempers, and before too long we were arguing over the smallest things.

Our love began to fade and it was my entirely fault. We’d made an agreement to stay as friends; to stop ourselves from the hurt we knew would come from further commitment, but I wasn’t strong enough to shut out my feelings for her. As the months passed it was common for days to go by without any contact. Our rare catch-up calls always ended in a fight, but we still cared deeply for each other. Could we still call it Love, or were we being fooled by the ghost of what was? Clinging on to the early memories of when we were side by side, we kept trying to fix our relationship, as if there were some magical words that once said would make everything better, but she had her life and I had mine.

She met new people and made new friends, just as I had done in our time apart. It seemed that we were leading different lives than what we once had; lives that left no room for our relationship.

It wasn’t much later that she broke it off between us. I wasn’t prepared for it, even though a part of me expected it. I felt responsible for our relationship. For beginning this journey with each other, I was the one that started it, and here she was, backing out of it. Maybe I am to blame for all of the heartache, and maybe I do deserve all of this pain for breaking my promise to her. I knew I had to follow my heart though. I had legitimate feelings for her and needed to know if what could’ve been could be.

The times we were together were some of the happiest moments I’ve ever had. Given the opportunity, I’d do it all again, and wouldn’t change a thing.

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The one that got away

It was easy in the beginning, the love. Looking back, it seemed effortless. But over time our relationship became harder to maintain. Those little things she did that once captivated me, now only annoyed me. It took quite some time before I understood how our love could turn to frustration in what seemed like such a short time.

We were different back then. Two individual people living our own lives, but a shared mind when it came to music. It was all we needed, all we talked about. Inevitably though, we became tormented by silence. It came to be that our dates would result in staring off into the distance, searching for some new topic to discuss.

There was plenty we could’ve talked about, but neither of us cared enough to care. We were so self-absorbed in ourselves that our hearts were oblivious to each other. I think we both knew at that point that there was something wrong with our relationship. If only we knew then what we do now.

We made a promise to each other that we would never change. But change is necessary for growth. It started from our musical interests, that which we built our identity on shifted and so to did our character. Our feelings for each other began to fall apart and all too soon our love for one another was forgotten.

We were young and naive in believing we would be together forever. Happy endings belong in fairy tales and this isn’t one of them. She’s moved on but I still can’t. To me, she’s the one that got away.

Year 12 IPT Writing Task

The following is a short essay I wrote in Grade 12 (3+ years ago) for my Information Processes and Technology class. It’s fun to see the progress I’ve made transitioning from haphazard essays such as this to the more eloquent, well scripted assignments I complete today.

The topic statement chose to write about:

“Electronic video surveillance of Australian public places is justified for the protection of the public”

Technology plays a large role in the day-to-day lives of civilians across the world, whether they know it or not. Every day people are being watched and scrutinised over their actions through the use of electronic surveillance. For years now Australian governments and local authorities in particular have used such technology for their own means. Whether it is for personal safety, national security, traffic monitoring or even used as deterrence from property crime, rest assured someone is watching your every move.

Certainly, the use of CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) has its benefits. However when it comes to people’s safety, how sure can we be that the data such surveillance is obtaining is in good hands? As soon as data is collected and digitised it may be shared among government agencies, or even worse, stolen or leaked into the public.

The first implementation of local government administrated open-street CCTV surveillance commenced in Perth in 1991 [3]. Since then the network of electronic surveillance cameras has increased to 33 systems in various locations throughout Australia.

Ever since the first introduction of electronic video surveillance into Australia, many individuals and groups fear that such “Big Brother” acts of surveillance will undoubtedly lead to totalitarianism throughout our states and their arguments are critical to the life of video surveillance.

CCTV surveillance was introduced into Australia as an effective way of reducing crime rates, hoping that the presence of cameras would deter people from committing criminal acts or omissions. However, attempts to link the effectiveness of CCTV with changes in crime rates poses problems as a variation in overall crime rates may be subject to random fluctuations [2]. Also, studies undertaken in the Gold Coast area found that the use of CCTV appears effective at the detection of crime as opposed to the prevention of it [1]. CCTV images only contributed to solving 3% of robberies in London, even though Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe [6]. So the question must be asked, is the presence of electronic video surveillance really going to help achieve lower crime statistics?

One problem with having so many cameras all recording hours of footage is that someone needs to constantly be watching the footage for any sign of suspicious activity. The cameras are only useful if the footage which they are recording is being monitored. This leads to a significant amount of cameras being disabled due to the fact that there are too many to monitor. A survey established that only one third of the surveillance systems are monitored for 24 hours and that a further third of systems are not monitored at all [4].

The fact that the councils cannot afford to employ enough staff to regulate program operation and the release of visual material produces queries as to why they can justify the cost of having all of the video surveillance systems in the first place.

There are three very important aspects in relation to how CCTV can be managed more effectively. Firstly, bias plays a large role in the operation of cameras throughout Australia and can be seen that increased amounts of attention are being placed onto certain social groups. Studies have found that working-class youths, women and ethnic minorities are more likely to be targets of CCTV due to operator bias [5]. This leads onto the second and most controversial issue regarding electronic video surveillance, civil liberty.

The placement and biased use of cameras may negatively impact on personal privacy. It is a split vote between those who believe that such surveillance is keeping the streets safe and those who believe that electronic video surveillance has no control over personal safety, but is rather just an invasion of privacy. However, some people suggest that if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide and therefore shouldn’t feel spied upon by the use of video surveillance in everyday life.

The third factor relating to the effectiveness of video surveillance is the displacement of crime. Usage of camera surveillance may cause a shift in crime from locations which are under surveillance to neighbouring areas which are not under surveillance. If this were to happen, the implementation and use of CCTV would not eliminate or reduce crime, but rather just move the same activities into different locations [7].

Regardless of the many arguments held against the use of CCTV and similar systems it seems that electronic video surveillance is ultimately going to become a part of everyone’s life, whether we like it or not and is therefore the governing agencies responsibility to properly monitor these systems, otherwise the installation and implementation of systems much like CCTV would become a total waste of money.

On many occasions the best crime prevention tactics include a combination of measures which have been put in place. Perhaps if careful consideration to all of the components of the surveillance system were undertaken and other suitable systems were installed instead of relying on the one approach, Australian governments and local agencies could lower crime statistics and possibly change the mind of many Australians who believe that electronic video surveillance systems are nothing but an intrusion into the private lives of many civilians, rather than a means of lowering crime rates.