16. Naked and afraid

I’ve never seen this cable TV show. But a recent event made me feel totally exposed and unprotected against the elements. I hope we never have to go through this again. It made us stronger as a family, but it was not for the faint of heart.

We both have iPhones. At first, they were merely cell phones. It was kinda neat to be able to call: “I’m on the way home, honey; need anything at the store?” And with hands-free technology, I could talk in the car without interfering with my driving. I felt like that rich guy who eats Grey Poupon in the back of his Mercedes.

But things have changed. I’m aware that I’ve come to depend on my phone a bit more than I should, perhaps more than is healthy. It’s become… more than just a phone.

As the technology advanced, so did my addiction attachment to this cute little box. Many years ago I smoked a pipe, and part of getting dressed each day was automatically putting my pipe, tobacco and lighter in my pockets. It was as routine as putting my pants on. Pipe paraphernalia has been replaced by my phone. More concise, and certainly healthier, I suppose. Or is it???

I’ve come to depend on it – literally – for every aspect of my life.

It tells me if I’m warm or cold, rich or poor, sick or well. It tells me how to spell, use and pronounce an esoteric word in several languages. It gives me detailed driving directions to a new restaurant, then tells me what to order. It’s my bridge partner who can help me bid. It tells me how to mix an old-fashioned, and when the steaks are done. I never had a secretary when I was working, but I’ve got one now in the palm of my hand. It makes sure I keep up with my oh-so-active retired life. (Eat. Use the bathroom at 7:30. Shower on Tuesdays… that sort of thing.) Most important – and most depressing – it has replaced TV news in my life. Now I don’t know when it’s dinner time.

Ordinarily, my wife would stage an intervention. But first, someone would have to stage an intervention for her. And I don’t have the time… I’m playing bridge.

So… what about naked and afraid? (My phone just reminded me I’d gotten off track.) A few weeks ago, we learned that Apple was offering a sale on battery replacement, and iPhone 6 owners should take advantage of it. We always do what Apple says. We made appointments for both phones at the closest Apple store. Little did we know…

When we got there, we were told to leave our iPhones – just hand them over, cold turkey – and we could pick them up in three hours. Three hours without a phone. Three hours.

Needless to say, that took us aback. What do we do? When we moved to our condo, we eliminated our landline. Our two cell phones are our lifeline to… our life. No cell phones, no life.

We drove home – completely phone and GPS free – and spent hours worrying what if… one of us has a heart attack? We need to call 911? Car accident? Mueller press conference announced? Son and figlia-in-law need our advice? We need to order pizza?

For three hours, we were off the grid. Nobody could contact us; we could contact nobody. For three hours, even Facebook didn’t even know where – or if – we were. We existed only to each other.

Interestingly, my wife and I talked during that time. I found out she’s Italian-American. Who knew? She found out I write this blog. She just thought I was always checking scores, or playing bridge. So I guess we learned stuff during our time off the grid.

When we returned to the store, we found out the transplant had gone well on both phones. (big sigh of relief… a few tears) Batteries were not rejected, and we noticed a difference in performance. Everything was intact; we had survived.

We have our life back now. And we hope we – and you – never have to go through such a harrowing experience again.

Okay. It’s 6:30… let me check to see if I’m hungry. My Italian-American wife probably makes great pasta and sauce.

7 thoughts on “16. Naked and afraid

  1. Hi Larry,

    I can imagine you going 3 hours without a cell phone. But Carole? No way! Is she still in therapy after such a traumatic experience?
    Cell phones have changed our lives in many ways. Some good and some not so good.
    Perhaps you should try going without cell phones for 3 hours every month. Kind of like cleansing your body of toxins every month by not eating for a day.
    Let me know how it goes. You can be the guinea pig.

  2. I know the feeling, Larry. In my business, the response time to e-mails or texts are now a matter of minutes or seconds- at any time of the day. I read that it changes your brain chemistry and now I believe it!

  3. Boo Hoo, at least you knew where the nasty thing was all the time. I recently lost mine for several hours (it’s an old guy thing). Now that is “naked and afraid “.
    The writing is improving and maybe some day you could make it into a career.
    Thanks. Bill

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