Thursday, May 10, 2012

My iPhone, My Love

Flashback to 2009:  My husband and I are packing for a week’s vacation in a cabin on a lake in the Adirondacks. We pack a video camera and a digital camera, old wrinkled maps of Long Island and New York State, books, magazines, board games, movies, music CDs, and a thick book that has pictures identifying all the flora and fauna of the Adirondack Mountain region.

Before we leave I ask my husband to set up the VCR to tape my favorite show, since we don’t get reception on the television in the cabin, but he is busy stuffing the trunk with his fishing poles and hiking boots, so he says to me, quite irritably, “OK! Just wait a minute!”

As we are driving on the Northern State Parkway I ask him, “Did you remember to set up the VCR?” 

“Oh! No… sorry,” he answers sheepishly. 

After fifty miles of silence between us, he asks, “Are you still mad?” I could ignore him for the next six hours by pulling out a book, but I get nauseous when I read in the car. I can’t exactly sing along to the all-news AM radio station he listens to. So I sulk, giving him the silent treatment, as I am still fuming and afraid that any conversation we have will turn into an argument.

“Pull over at the next rest stop,” I tell him, finally breaking my silence. “I have to pee.”

“Me, too!”  He sounds so happy that I have finally spoken to him. 

When we get back from our bathroom break he points to the radio and says, “Why don’t you put something on that you would like to listen to.”

“Forget the radio; the only thing playing this far north is static,” I tell him.  “Hand me my Janis Joplin CD and move over. I’m driving now.”  He will pay dearly for forgetting to set up the VCR to tape my show.


Flash Forward to 2011: My husband and I are packing for a week’s vacation in a large house on a lake in the Adirondacks. The children and grandchildren will be joining us this time.  My husband packs a digital camera with several backup battery packs and the clunky outdated video camera that never works. There are the same wrinkled outdated maps of Long Island and New York State, different books, newer magazines, the same board games, a few old movies, the same music CDs, and the same thick book that has pictures identifying all the flora and fauna of the Adirondack Mountain region. 

I pack my iPhone and a charger.

As we are driving on the Northern State Parkway, he tunes in to his all-news AM radio station to check the traffic every ten minutes, and instead of zoning out, like I usually do, I pull out my iPhone and tune into Waze, an app that acts as a GPS and also alerts you to traffic jams, accidents, delays from roadwork and alternate routes to take. I inform him of an alert that someone posted about a traffic jam on the Merritt Parkway. “I’ll plot an alternate route with my iPhone!” I say, eager to try my new toy.

“That thing doesn’t know anything,” he scoffs.  “I just heard the traffic report and they didn’t say anything about any traffic jam on the Merritt Parkway. I’m not changing my route.” Later, with the engine idling in neutral on the Merritt Parkway, he asks me if “that thing” can get rid of the traffic in front of us.

“Let’s just make the best of the situation,” I tell him cheerily, and I pull out my iPhone. I open the Verizon app and remotely set the DVR box to tape Masterpiece Theater while we are away on vacation. He continues listening to the traffic report and starts shouting back at the radio that they missed this one. Next, I get on the Internet and log into my Amityville Library account, download a free book, put my headphones on and listen to a calm voice reading to me, as I close my eyes and relax. Later, I open the New York Times on my iPhone to read a bit of news, while listening to music in the background.

We make a pit stop for lunch and I snap a few photos with my iPhone, then switch to the video mode and span the mountain range ahead.  I notice an unusual flower bordering the picnic area and remark aloud, “I wonder what that is?”

“I’ll get the book out of the car,” my husband says, and jogs off.  While he is pulling things out of the trunk, looking for the book, I take a picture of the plant, download it to my Leafsnap app for identification, and within seconds I have the name, description, growing season and more information than I need to know about this plant. 

While he is repacking the car, I send a text message to our son:  Where R U?  They were supposed to meet us at this rest stop for lunch. He responds immediately:  Late start. Should B @ cabin by evening.  My husband is restless, scanning the parking lot.  “Where are the kids?” he wonders aloud.  “Weren’t they supposed to meet us here for lunch?”

“They got a late start; they’re meeting us later at the cabin,” I tell him, waving my iPhone to explain how I got the information.

As we climb into higher elevations, the car radio dies out and so does my phone’s reception, so I switch over to the iPod on my iPhone.  My mind is wandering, and I come up with an interesting idea for a short story, so I open the Voice Memos app and speak into the phone to record it. It’s a story about a woman who becomes so attached to her iPhone that she actually falls in love with it.

I’m thinking about my own relationship with his amazing device and how much my life has changed for the better since I purchased it a year ago. As we drive down the rocky dirt path toward the lake, I open my window and take a deep full breath of lush green pine scented air. I turn the phone off and slide my palm and fingers over its smooth cool surface, aware of how good it feels in my hand – such a sexy piece of equipment! I exhale slowly, and unwittingly confess, “I love you so much! How did I ever live without you?”

My husband puts his hand on my knee, and gives it a squeeze. “I love you too!” he says, a big smile lighting up his face.  He stops the engine and looks deeply into my eyes, inching his hand up my thigh. “I’m glad the kids aren’t here yet…aren’t you?” 

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