Love miles

August 27, 2007

It’s official. Going out with someone from the other side of the planet is bad for the environment. Environmentalist George Monbiot coined the phrase ‘love miles‘ to describe the carbon-unfriendly flights we take in the name of love, similar to the ‘food miles’ we accumulate whenever we stick another pack of Kenyan beans or Chilean strawberries in our supermarket trolley.

Steven and I are busy clocking up the love miles. Six months ago, he flew back to the UK to live with me. Then last month he had to fly back to Australia to apply for his ‘propsed civil partnership’ visa. And I, of course, flew with him. For Monbiot, this is an ‘irreconcilable antagonism’ between two moral codes (the one that says you should go because of your relationship and the one that says you shouldn’t because of climate change), but I can’t say there was much antagonism at my end of the check-in queue. What, was I going to make Steven go alone, just for a smidgeon less carbon dioxide?

But the best laid plans, and all that. It turned out we were one document short of an application form, and by the time my bank had sent out what we needed – first to the wrong address, and then to the right one – it was time for me to fly back to London for work, leaving Steven behind.

It’s been three weeks now – and there’s no way of telling how much longer it might be. Sure, we speak and email and text and twitter but, as Joni Mitchell put it, “the bed’s too big, the frying pan’s too wide.”

The only miles that concern me now are the ones that separate us.