Gadgetally Challenged

Why I Should Never Be Left to My Own Devices

I’m the only person I know who is walking around totally disconnected. Everybody, it seems, is toting one kind of wireless doohickey or another. For my husband it’s a Blackberry and he literally can’t function without it. Stock quotes, news updates, airline fare bargains – they’re right there at his fingertips. These days, thanks to its handy e-mail and Internet functions Marc is able to take the entire population of the globe with him wherever he goes including, I hate to say, when we go out to dinner. Remember the interview Princess Diana gave where she discussed her husband’s relationship with Camilla? She said, "There were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded.” Change "three of us” to "6.7 billion of us” and I know exactly how she felt. In fact, I suspect that if a burglar stuck a gun in Marc’s ribs and demanded, "Your Blackberry or your life", a widow would be writing this article.

But my husband isn’t the only one who belongs to a handheld device (and no I didn’t say that backwards.) All my friends have them too. Not long ago I was at lunch with a group of girls and they were constantly checking their e-mails and browsing blogs and verifying their bank balances. Meanwhile I just sat there with my dorky old cell phone (you know, the kind where if you want to text someone the phrase, "I will be home late”, you have to type this number sequence: 444 9444555555 2233 44666633 5552833) and felt totally left out.

I wanted a cool little gadget too. I wanted to run my life from a command center the size of a Hershey Bar. If I was out with friends and the conversation got around to who played the original Marilyn on "The Munsters,” I wanted my Wikipedia to settle the argument right then and there. (BTW, it was Beverley Owen.) Is that too much to ask?

Certainly not. So last week I marched right down to the nearest electronics store, and for a bargain price of $409.50, plus a hefty increase in our monthly phone service, I purchased my very own Blackberry, complete with ear buds, a charger, something called a "skin”, and an instruction manual printed in four languages!

Once it was all juiced up I began inputting my contact list, starting with my daughter, Lauren (formerly known as 5552887773366.) Then I programmed it to send me a reminder every afternoon at 5:00 so I wouldn’t miss "The Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network. And finally I downloaded the theme from "2001, A Space Odyssey” as my ringtone, figuring it would be easy to hear from the bottom of my purse.

I couldn’t wait to show off my new toy, and the first opportunity came the following morning at the grocery store, when I overheard two ladies talking about the Oscars. Immediately I whipped out my Blackberry, Googled the nominee list and read the entire thing out loud to them – category by category. You should have seen their faces!

It was amazing how quickly I became high-tech. Within twenty-four hours I was learning to speak Gaelic through my ear buds, while simultaneously going for a personal best at Minesweeper and following 268 people on Twitter, all from the comfort and convenience of my gynecologist’s exam table. Apparently there was no limit to when and where I could be wirelessly connected to this vast expanse we call planet earth. Or so I thought until later that night.

After a lovely dinner on our terrace beneath a beautiful full moon, my husband gave me what the paperback novels on my grandmother’s nightstand used to call a "come hither” look, and I was just about to accept. I really was. But at that very moment I received a little buzzy-beep notifying me of an incoming message. Sure enough, a Facebook friend had sent me the most hilarious quiz, so naturally I had to forward it to all of my Outlook contacts. It must have taken longer than I thought because by the time I got finished, alas it was too late to come hither. Marc was fast asleep.

The next morning my beautiful little Blackberry had mysteriously vanished, right out of its charger. I can’t say for certain, but I suspect that sometime during the night a burglar broke into the house, stuck a gun to my husband's ribs and demanded, "Your Blackberry or your wife's", and the idiot gave him mine!

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