I feel a tap on my shoulder.
“Honey, just one more minute...I almost have it cleared up. Promise.”
Jeff just shakes his head as he slips on his headphones.
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that? Oh yeah, I'm sure they have a fax machine at the hotel... Oh crap, the stewardess is now telling me to turn off the phone...yes, I'll call as soon as I get off this damn plane..."
I look toward the flight attendant who's glaring at me. "It's going off. See? It's going in my purse now..."
I had hoped that I might get a chuckle out of Jeff, but a quick glance at him shows that he’s not amused in the slightest. He’s not even paying attention to me anymore as he’s lost in his own little fantasy world.
"Honey, what's wrong? You know this big project at work just came up yesterday and they really don’t know what they’re doing without me there..."
He pretends to not hear me through his headphones, though I know he can. I lean over and sweep my lips softly across his cheek to get his attention. I brush the hair away from his face and try to catch his eye. Still no response.
It’s my turn to sigh now.
I put on my headphones and do my best to nap during the flight. After all, I’m lost without my iPhone to keep me entertained. Normally I have emails to respond to, news to read, Facebook status updates to check on, or a game of Angry Birds to play. Without my phone, I have nothing but sleep to occupy my time on the three hour plane ride.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you are now able to use your cellular phone as we taxi into the gate, but please refrain from moving about the plane until the pilot has turned off the fasten seat belt light...”
That was just the announcement I was waiting for. I reach into my purse and quickly pull out my iPhone.
“John, yes, we just landed...I'll get you the fax number to the hotel as soon as we get there. Did Mary get the contracts together like she said she would?"
Before I know it, we are walking through the airport into baggage claim.
"Ugh. I can't believe she flaked on us again! I seriously think we need to do everything ourselves around there...”
We collect our luggage without any problems and head outside to get a taxi to our hotel.
“ Well, since Mary didn’t get in touch with him, do you mind calling him yourself? Sure I have the number in my phone, just one sec..."
I put the phone on speaker and start searching for the contractor’s number at the same time as I’m talking to my business partner. I should be watching where I am walking instead of looking for the number on my phone because the group of people in front of me stop at the curb. I don’t realize how close we are to the street due to being totally lost in my conversation.
I run right into a man of about 6’3 and 300 pounds. He probably doesn’t even notice my tiny body running into his sturdy frame, but it knocks me a little silly. I lose my balance, just for a second, enough for my phone to fall from my hands onto the concrete below.
No harm done, I figure. I have dropped this thing countless times over the last 6 months. I reach down to pick it up when someone walking by accidentally kicks it out of my reach and right off the curb.
Panic sets in. The next few moments seem to slow down as I try to push my way through the crowd to grab my phone just as a cab is pulling up to the curb. It’s a race against time that I simply cannot win.
All I can do is watch as the nightmare unfurls right before my very eyes and wait for the sound that no smartphone addict ever wants to hear when it comes to their baby...
The sound rings through the air and weighs heavily on my ears. I may be the only one who can hear it, but it’s absolutely deafening to me.
The hum of the passerby's can’t cover up the sound of my world shattering there in front of me. By the time I can hold the remnants of my phone in my hands, there is no more John, no more Facebook. There was nothing but pieces of useless plastic.
"Perhaps this is a good thing..."
The voice startles me back to reality. It was Jeff, who stood from the sidelines and watched the events unfold rather than step in and help save my precious phone.
"Maybe now you'll see what’s going on around you. It'll be liberating."
While his message is an important one, his voice still held apathy toward my situation. But dammit, I know he’s right. I hate that he’s right. I’m still grieving the loss of my phone, I don’t want to hear about how liberating it will be now that it’s crushed.... but he’s right.
“Go without it for a few days, you’ll be fine. We’re in Cancun after all...”
We decide to take a taxi other than the one that crushed my prized possession. Bad karma or something, I simply couldn’t sit in that particular taxi after knowing what it was capable of doing. The nail biting hits me almost instantly. It’ s a habit I broke right about the time I acquired my first smartphone, but it has returned to rear it’s ugly head once again. I keep reaching for my phone before realizing that it’s no longer there. I mourn privately. I can’t update my status to say that I am now in Mexico. Nor can I text a photo of a palm tree to my best friend back home. I have to make due with what I have.
I reach over to hold Jeff’s hand only to find it too busy texting away on his Blackberry. I guess I know how it feels now. I look at him, totally focusing on his phone and realize how sad we really are to be this attached to technology. This really will be good for me, I think to myself. Now if only we can get him to put his phone away as well. That’s not very likely, I’m afraid. Envy kicks in, but I brush it aside. This is my choice. I could run amok around Cancun, hoping to find an AT&T store somewhere in this tropical paradise....but no. I’m not going to become that person.
I will see the world around me again and be free from technological distractions.
I do the only thing I can in that moment - I look out the window. I am in Mexico after all. The white sand, the deep blue sea....all of that is here to be seen and I am finally free to see it. I get lost in the amazing views and the sunshine, deep in thought about what a beautiful wedding I will have someday with the man sitting right next to me. I can’t wait to begin scoping out the perfect location for our beautiful beach wedding.
It takes a moment to register that the taxi has stopped in front of our hotel. I am so lost in thought, that I lost track of time as well. I almost could ignore the constant dinging of Jeff’s phone. Almost. I suddenly realize just how annoying it can be. It’s also painfully obvious that Jeff is as addicted to his phone as I was to mine. I was always too focused on my own obsession to even realize how much he was playing on his own treasure.
“Honey, why don’t you turn your phone off for the remainder of our trip too? I mean, who’s so important that you must text them right now?”
He just mumbles something about his sister and “boy” problems. She seems to have a lot of those lately. I never knew him to be particularly close to his sister in the first place, but they seem to talk more often lately.
I struggle with the luggage as he types frantically on his phone, a mischievous grin forms across his lips.
“Baby, could you help me with these bags?”
No answer as he types away.
“Seriously, who is that fucking important...” I drop the bags as I try to see who he could be texting. He turns away from me so I can’t see the phone.
Something is just not right and I know it.
I reach for the phone and in one quick motion, it’s in my hands. He tries to grab for it, but I am much too fast for him. I read the message from “Carrie” out loud.
“Mmmm I can’t wait to suck your luscious cock baby....”
He must see the shock and the hurt in my face and stops the fight for the phone. It’s futile now that I have discovered his secret.
“Val, let me explain...”
“Such lovely words from your sister...My, I didn’t even know you had a sister named Carrie...”
The tears begin to sting at my eyes, fighting to come out. My stubbornness won’t let me cry in front of him though, and I am thankful for that.
“Sweetheart...” He was trying to find the words, but they were lost upon him. I have nothing I want to say either. The hurt is quickly replaced by anger as I realize how he had been hiding all of this from me for so long. All the late nights at work, the lies about his sister needing advice....all of it was pure bullshit.
I loved him and he crushed me. I know that there is only one way to get even in that moment.
I drop his Blackberry on the concrete with a sharp crack. He goes to reach for it, but his hand is no match for my high heels. He’s smart and pulls away before my heel crushes his fingers. Instead, it hits screen of his phone with another loud crack.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Panic sets into his eyes as he realizes his precious Blackberry is about to meet it’s maker.
One final stomp and I hear the noise I am waiting for. His phone crunches beneath my foot much like mine did earlier. It doesn’t shatter into nearly as many pieces as mine, but the damage is done, He isn’t going to be texting Carrie again anytime soon.
“You’re right about one thing, baby....it is pretty fucking liberating.”
I hand him the crumpled remains of his phone as I hail another cab, leaving his sorry ass behind. Though, I have to admit, he’s right about something else too. It really is amazing the things you can see without all the technological distractions. I am about to enjoy every second of that trip to Cancun, alone.