August 24th, 2016 by Jan

When we lived in Eugene, OR my training partner was Tam Davage. Tam and I met up two, or three times a week and would spend several hours together training the yang curriculum, as well as freestyle push hands play. He was a great training partner, we were well matched, and we worked hard together.

One day, Ken asked me about Tam. What does he do for a living? I didn’t know. Is he married? I didn’t know. Ken asked a few more questions and when I again said, I didn’t know, Ken couldn’t believe it. “Jan, you are with him every week for hours on end. You mean to tell me you don’t know anything about him.”

I knew plenty about Tam. I knew his centre and how to find it. I knew his resistance, his shoulders, his relaxed nature, his stance, his reach. I knew Tam the way you can only know someone who touches in, the way push hands players, touch in.

But, I didn’t know him! We never talked. We trained. It was years later when I started to socialize with Tam or get to know him enough to be able to call him friend.

I knew Tam – but I didn’t. Not in the way folks think we know each other. I didn’t know the details of his life; only the core.

I’ve known Jamkilroy1435 for 5 or maybe 6 years now. But, not really.

We’ve never met, we’ve never spoken, and we’ve certainly never push hands. I don’t even know if Jamkilroy1435 is male or female, old or young.

I know Jamkilroy1435 because I was too chicken to ask any of my friends to play Words With Friends with me when I first got started. I didn’t want my friends to know how challenged I was with word games, and I didn’t care what an anonymous stranger thought of me.

So what if the best word I could come up with was CAT for 6 points! Jamkilroy1435 was a random stranger who was willing to play a word game with another random stranger. I was delighted.

After the first game – I was asked if I wanted a rematch, and thought what the hell. I don’t know this person and it was fun. We played another game, then another, then another. We’re still playing.

Jamkilroy1435 and I have been playing Words With Friends for almost 6 years now without interruption. When one games ends — another is started. Sometimes, Jamkilroy1435 wins, sometimes I win. We are a good match for the game and have close to the same skill level. (Not like me and Jim, where Jim creams me every time.)

I’ve made up all kinds of stories about Jamkilroy1435 – yet, I know nothing. My only hint is that he* lives back east. I think this, because when I check the game in the morning, he’s played his turn usually three hours earlier, but maybe he is a night owl. I only can guess.

I do know I would miss Jamkilroy1435 if something were to happen and our games, our “relationship” ended. Six years is a long time to hang out with someone you don’t know. Yet, on the flip side, Jamkilroy1435 doesn’t know a thing about me either!

* I call him a he for some reason.

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