/BY PHILIP A. KAPLAN/ //SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //
Recently I’ve become intrigued by beautiful people (and some not so beautiful) in elevators, restaurants, automobiles, waiting rooms and office hallways, with their eyeballs and eardrums glued to the device I have learned was a “smartphone.”
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What threw me into their gene pool was an article claiming that many such users were never more than five feet away from their phones 24/7. According to the article, half of the studied group slept with their phones, some dialed in the shower, and others diddled while they were making love. So I knew I had to have one.
The challenge was to convince my 1950s Jewish wife to join the venture for the Family Plan. I define a 1950s Jewish wife as one, which emerged from the womb, proficient in all matters domestic and parental, but not technological.
Despite my brilliant sales pitch extolling the virtues of this miraculous new contraption, her rejection was absolute. She vowed that she’d only be making phone calls, never use any form of texting, wouldn’t have time for the other bells and whistles, etc. Exasperated but undaunted, I dragged her kicking and screaming to the phone store.
To my great surprise and delight, thanks to several friendly and kind salespeople, our grandson, two daughters, and my less than patient instructions, Sally metamorphosed from an intimidated neophyte into the “smartphone techie” she is today.
She makes and receives phone calls, texts, emails, and verbally dictates messages to her contacts. She also shares photos, checks the weather and schedules her life on the calendar application.
She communicates from her bedroom, the living room, and the kitchen, while shopping, during meetings and even in her car. Already, she understands Bluetooth, the difference between 3G and 4G, apps, and is conversant about Pandora and Scoutmob.
The last step in in her transformation: join the masses of people who fiddle with their phones in restaurants oblivious to concerned tablemates.
So my wife, our smartphones, and I have been sharing a sort of ménage à trois relationship. Our home is filled with music of instrumental ringtones denoting: phone calls, emails and text messages. My wife is constantly in touch with the world.
The problem now is that there’s not much time for me aside from “howdy-do” and to-do lists. Date nights? Forget about it!
Our phone plan will be up for renegotiation in 18 months and I’m already contemplating my options. It’ll be about the same time as our 57-year wedding anniversary and I’m thinking of renegotiating that original contract as well.
While perusing our ketubah, our marriage contract, I was shocked to rediscover what I had hastily signed back when I was a dazed, and nervous groom obligated me to perform a detailed list of responsibilities for Sally; and only a brief, hazy mention of what I could expect from her.
“She has taken it upon herself the fulfillment of all duties incumbent upon a Jewish wife.”
That’s it. No details. Nothing about forsaking other gadgets for me. Nothing about ‘til death or phone time do us part. I’m unsure where the clause to love, honor, and obey scampered off to.
I’ve searched, but ignoring one’s husband for a smartphone is not enough grounds for a get (Jewish divorce). I’m hopeful, however, that the phone company will consider my plea as reason enough to resolve my predicament.
Surely they have a staff that counsels phone-estranged couples, or perhaps provide a discount for my “pain and suffering.” I’ve got 18 months to figure it out.
In the meanwhile, if you’re talking, texting, or emailing Sally, would you please remind her I’m still on hold?