It’s taken far too many years – and cost far too much – but I’ve finally learned the secret of a cheap divorce. I gave Barb – my most talented teacher wife – an iPad for Christmas. Haven’t seen her since.

Like most folks who’ve reached the three-quarters-of-a-century mark in life, the whizbang, always-something-new-electronics revolution has passed me by in it’s quickstep march to who-knows-where. I own the most simple of cell phones with no “apps” or video capability. I have it because I use it for the one purpose for which it was invented. And named. Telephone. And it doesn’t even do that very well.

So far, I’ve managed to escape the wave of intercontinental electronic itching and scratching going around – that of sitting and watching your left hand for hours and hours. It’s the same all over town. People eating, reading, getting haircuts, waiting in line, riding a bus, visiting a doctor, grocery shopping, sitting in church, TV watching, getting shoes shined and a host of other normal activities. All the while holding a black oblong thing in their left hands and staring at it.

My wife is an ardent practitioner of this solitary electronic lifestyle. She has friends. Many friends. In many places. She seldom talks to them. But I think she’s in constant touch. I think. Sits for hours, staring at her left hand. Occasionally she crosses over with her right to punch a series of keys. Then usually smiles. This can go on for hours. Sit-punch-sit-read-smile-punch-sit-read-smile -punch-read, etc.

I’ve asked repeatedly why she doesn’t just enter the appropriate, shorter telephone numbers, put the device to her ear and talk to someone at the other end. “It IS called a phone, you know.” This usually gets me a smile, a shrug and a mild rebuke: “You just continue what you’re doing and we’ll be fine.”

As I understand our monthly convoluted phone bill, we’re paying for phone “talk time.” That time during which you have a back-and-forth traditional conversation with someone. They speak. You listen. You speak. They listen. That seems fair. But we’re also paying more dollars for something called “texting” which is slower, more time-consuming and far less personal than the “talk time.” Seems like money poorly spent to me.

I’ve watched her do this “texting” for an entire episode of “NCIS” and a Bears loss to the Packers. Straight through. Oh, she’s quiet enough. But I’m never sure when she’s here or when she’s “there.” Wherever “there” is at the time.

I’m far behind the “social media” curve. In fact, I see nothing “social” about it. To me, the “social” part is the exchange of voices talking of common experiences or the news of the day. What’s “social” about punching keys, leaving comments on a website or twittering you are now on a bus headed crosstown? Intrusive and nobody’s business as far as I’m concerned. As a matter of fact, who else cares about what the Hell you’re doing on a bus?

Ah, but back to the iPad. Even spelled screwy.

Once in her hands Christmas day, she left the room, headed for her computer. The house was very quiet. A bit later, I found she had wired one to the other. Mating, I guessed. Maybe this is where iPods came from.

I inquired. She said she was “synching.” “Downloading instructions and updates.” “Updates?” What “updates?” The damned thing was brand new. But, based on previous experience, I quietly left the room. There is a time with her that you know all you’re ever going to know so you stop asking.

A few hours later, she emerged with the iPad playing digitized music. Fine fidelity, I thought, but what about the thousand bucks we have invested in a state-of-the-art home theater sound system? I didn’t ask. She settled on the couch with the I-iPad in her lap, surrounded by a then-silent 400 watt amplifier and Bose speakers that could shatter glass. But she was happy.

Haven’t seen her since. Made my own coffee this morning. Winston – the Rat Terrier – and Clementine – the Calico cat – seem unconcerned. I’m sure if I look in the right room, I’ll find her staring at the little glass box that’s taken her God-knows-where this time.

I won’t be getting an iPad soon. I won’t even get a new phone. I won’t, that is, until there’s one on the market that really works. As a phone. Never mind all the other stuff.

As for the cheaper divorce part, a friend of ours is working on an “app” for that. I’ll keep you posted.

One Response to “I see nothing “social” in all that social media”

  1. Kathreen Says:

    That hits the target prefeclty. Thanks!