Do You Know Where Your IPhone is?

A quick late afternoon errand…need to get new athletic shoes. But first, take in the trashaddict cans, throw the recycling in the bin.

Unplug the Prius from the wall….and there’s something else…

What am I forgetting?

Tap foot.

Something, I’m forgetting something, just know it.

As I push the ignition button, realize what it is, my iPhone! Move to jump out and get it.

That’s ridiculous, it’s a simple errand, I don’t need the phone.

The car is on and before I even back out of the garage, my fingers move plug in the absent iPhone, thirty seconds, no, 15 seconds, after I’ve decided it’s not necessary!

Truly, it’s become so much a part of my being. I listen to podcasts while walking the dogs. I look up an answer to the crossword during dinner. (It’s not cheating, really, Will Shortz says so.) Like the kids, I gave up wearing a watch a couple years ago, phone tells me the time. I text with my dad, and have actual conversations… with my sister, with distant friends, or maybe the gardener.

I play Words with Friends with Mama, and Jill from the Antarctica trip, and Scramble with a woman in Korea. We’ve been playing for several years now, and talk through their chat feature. I even learned about the Korea ferry accident from her. A distant connection, but connection nonetheless.

When I’m at a stoplight, push the AUX button on the radio so I can listen to the Moth podcast through the radio. Sigh. The phone is a home, remember?

I spend much of my days solo, writing, working, caring for puppies, and the iPhone represents instant access to the world.

Five years ago, I had terrible resentment of my ex-husband’s Blackberry, how it intruded into life. It sat on the nightstand, in his pocket, or on the dinner table right next to his plate. But of course it didn’t just sit there, it pinged, it chirped, and his hand reached for it much more than it ever reached for me. I’d pick him up after a business trip, and he’d be on the phone all the way home from the airport. “Sorry,” he’d say, “it was important.”

But how could it always be important? More important than what’s happening here. Of course it wasn’t the Blackberry, it was what it represented.

In an attempt to have him not be my ex-husband, I cooked up an idea, The Marriage Improvement Plan. The plan had several components—take a vacation!—and among them limits on electronics. One electronic-free day a week, and electronics-free mealtimes.

Even though I did get that vacation, that plan didn’t work of course. The limits didn’t give us more ‘air time’, as I’d hoped, but did make him resentful.

As I stop the car in front of the shoe store, my hand reaches for the cell phone to text Ariel about dinner. Sigh.

It is hard for us mere humans to adjust to new technology. That’s why we’re all afraid of snakes—which kill only half a dozen people a year—and not at all afraid of cars, which kill 50,000 people a year.

There’s a lot I don’t know about this. But there is one that that I do know.

Next time I go out:

I’m taking the phone.

About Karen Ray

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