IT’S a wife’s greatest fear, that
hubby will turn his attention elsewhere. After years of loyal if unfriendly
service, she’ll be coldly rebuffed and instantly replaced. Yes, this is what’s
just happened to me, and not for the first time, either.
It’s true. Stanley -- on the surface, the most dependable of partners -- is cheating on me again. Like most philanderers, he’s gone with the latest, flashiest model, and he simply can’t get enough.
I know what you’re thinking: “Who’d blame him? We’ve seen your picture.” Most of us can ruefully understand the married person’s yearning for a partner with more pizzazz. The other day, for instance, Stanley joked that if he had the opportunity, he’d leave me for his favourite country singer, Lee Ann Womack. Having heard this sort of remark from his father before, our 14-year-old son Bart asked blithely, “Dad, who wouldn’t you leave Mum for?”
Thus, I’ve always assumed my days were numbered. But to be thrown over for a floozy as cheap and obvious as iPhone -- I have to say, that hurts.
Stanley freely admits that he’s what’s known as an “early adopter.” From his salad days as a four-eyed techno-geek, he’s always sought the newest appliance he could barely afford. He glommed on, for instance, to the earliest form of the Internet, a Macintosh program that I seem to recall consisted of a sardine can, a shoelace and an old banana. Stanley went around attempting to convert various baffled friends to this new technology. He’d try sending messages to them over his banana, only to find they’d absentmindedly eaten theirs -- that sort of thing.
When the real Internet came along, Stanley was an instant believer, forever upgrading our home computers with the latest new “web tools.” He was relentless. I’d leave the room for half an hour and come back to find my desktop pulsating mysteriously with some fresh timesaving “essential.”
I like technology to stay exactly the way it’s been for the past 15 years, so I don’t get confused. Not Stanley. He loves to bedevil himself with gear so novel it’s still steaming from the computer factory.
So naturally, from the outset he’s been glued to Facebook and Twitter, regularly updating his posts to announce his activities to the world. “Just sneezed” is typical. He also makes local phone calls to me on the computer via Skype (which is mainly a way to call long distance for free) just so I can see his face on a webcam. In other words, he’s the sort of guy who will text message anyone with a working forefinger. And last weekend in Whistler, I finally realized I have lost him for good.
All day long, Stanley and his squeeze, iPhone, were inseparable. Not only did he fondle her incessantly, he had to answer her the second she rang, no matter what we were doing.
That night we were searching for a certain hotel, where we were supposed to meet Stanley’s colleague, Ambrose, and his wife for drinks. Seeing us looking lost, a local stopped to offer directions. After he pushed on, Stanley assumed a skeptical expression. He turned to iPhone, who of course has a Global Positioning System (GPS) that might as well be a red satin push-up bra.
“That guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’ll trust my satellite,” Stanley muttered, lecherously pawing iPhone as he marched me toward a dark alley. Luckily, the local still happened to be close at hand. “Hey, man, you’re going in the wrong direction,” he called out.
“Well, sorry, but it looks like you pointed me to the opposite end of the village from where I want to be,” Stanley said in a distinctly unapologetic manner.
“Ah, you have GPS,” the local’s girlfriend observed. “But GPS will only give you street directions that are useful if you’re driving there. You’re on foot, so you can walk, and this is the right way.”
Following her instructions, we finally arrived at our destination, Stanley whispering comforting nothings into iPhone’s face. I was already plenty testy. After some heinously overpriced beverages, Ambrose and Cynthia dashed off to their reservation at a fancy, romantic restaurant while we stumbled around the village looking for entrees under $2.99. Ten minutes after parting from our friends, as we walked, Stanley’s digit was once again poking iPhone with irritating ardor.
“What are you doing?” I asked suspiciously. As I’ve said, I’m no blushing bride.
“Texting Ambrose,” he replied.
“Why would you do that? We just said good-bye to the guy!” I exclaimed.
“I’m just telling him how much we enjoyed the drinks,” Stanley said, switching deftly from finger to thumb like some sort of frickin’ Casanova.
“Is that urgent? We already told them in person,” I screeched. “Can’t it wait until Monday? Or, like, never?”
He glared at me. You do not get between Stanley and his gadgets. “I’m not even going to dignify that with a response,” he said, just as Mark Darcy said to Bridget Jones when she accused him of shtupping his beautiful co-worker.
Then iPhone cooed or hummed or
whatever she does to alert Stanley to whatever random useless thing is about to
happen on her next. “Aha!” he crowed. “Here’s a text for me from Ambrose.”
“What?” I asked, astonished. “He’s at the best restaurant in Whistler with his beautiful wife and he’s interrupting his evening to write to you?”
“He’s just telling me they’ve ordered the four-course dinner with wine pairings,” Stanley said, stopping to respond with a succinct but loving “Godspeed.”
In that moment, all Stanley’s infidelities came rushing back to me -- the trilling cellphone he always insisted on answering despite my being in mid-complaint, his nightly banter with people I’d never even heard of on Facebook, his rejection of actual reading in favour of snuggling up with iPhone to enjoy wireless talks by obscure intellectuals on his morning bus commute.
The guy didn’t even watch TV any more, unless he’d prerecorded it on another of his new paramours, the PVR. Was there no end to his treachery?
Forget dinner. The time for revenge was nigh. Luckily, like all social networkers, Stanley is on a constant hunt for what he calls “content.”
“If you have any plan to put those grisly photographs you took of me on the mountain today on Facebook, you can think again,” I snarled at my shocked husband and his blank-faced iPhone, storming off in the direction of our hotel. “And from now on, keep me out of your bloody Tweets!”