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Confessions from a tech-widow...
By Rebecca Wicks

It’s been quite serious for a while now. They’ve been pushing each other’s buttons, engaging in hours of meaningful chat and hanging on one another’s every word. They are the very first thing they both see in the morning when they wake up. He reaches out, caresses her, stops her making sounds that might wake somebody. Nothing will ever come between them, least of all me. I am of course, talking about my boyfriend, and his beloved blackberry.

It’s a relationship I don’t quite understand. Perhaps it’s me, perhaps I’m too cynical. Perhaps I’m far too quick to shut down and block out the world? I live in constant awe of this ever-developing love story, yet can’t quite believe it will ever happen to me. When I’m three footsteps away from my computer, going down in the lift, approaching the exit of my building and climbing into a cab at the end of a day, I’m very much aware I’ve left my online friendships behind. I don’t panic. It’s not something I fear - I know they’ll still be there in the morning.

But my boyfriend makes me think � is this normal behavior in the modern world? Should I be so carefree, should I shun by-the-minute updates of what my friends are encountering on the way home, who’s stuck in traffic, who needs a wee and who forgot to stop by Waitrose to pick up the chicken fillets before arriving home to find their husband playing board games with the cleaner? It’s all very entertaining stuff, but after 8 hours stuck in a swivel chair absorbing it all, am I not entitled to turn it off?

It’s 8am. A beeping sounds. It’s the noise of his alarm on the blackberry. Fair enough, I use my phone as an alarm too. But before I know it, the scrolling starts. I hear the chuckling at an abundance of emails that arrived while he was sleeping; the gasps at what he missed while he was catching Z’s and the scurry of his feet as he races to the bathroom, aware that he’s spent so long catching up with a colleague from the comfort of his mattress, that he’s actually late for a meeting with him.

The relationship deepens whilst out on the town. At dinner, when he should be gazing lovingly into my eyes, adoring my every move, it’s the gadget that grabs his attention, luring his eyeballs forward and onto a flickering screen. I peruse the menu: “Should I have the chicken, the teriyaki steak or the king prawn salad?” “I’m just confirming my flight,” comes the reply. “Should I have the Merlot or the Sav Blanc?” “I’m just telling dad what to do with the shelving unit.” By the time he’s worked down to a fully-answered set of questions and picked up the menu, another little ensures we’ll soon be interrupted.

But is this rudeness, or diligence of the highest degree? Should it be an argument waiting to happen or something I should accept and embrace? My man is multi-tasking quite successfully � isn’t this something to be proud of? I remain confused and slightly beaten down by the blackberry. I’ve thought of destroying it, drowning it, putting it in the freezer or chucking it into a construction site but the GPS navigation and a builder using Twitter would soon see they were reunited. They’re so close that he could have me convicted, for attempted murder.

There’s really nothing I can do but put up with it. Or get one of my own and initiate instant messaging as we sit opposite one another in a restaurant, or in the living room. “Shouldn’t you be doing the dishes”, he’ll type me. “I’m just planning a date with someone in the real world,” I’ll reply.

Posted: 01 April 2009

Hi Rebecca,
Firstly let me say I love your columns and read them every week - keep them coming!

However, I think I slightly disagree with you on the latest article, "Confessions of a Tech-Widow". In today's world there a milion ways of staying in touch with people or with certain aspects of your life. I really doubt your boyfriend is reading anything but work related stuff on his Blackberry. This means he's really focussed on what his career is doing right now. There are people who will not be as deligent in what is happening in their work life and in my experience they are the ones that don't succeed and that are satisfied with not progressing their careers. In the past it was who came to the office first or who left last. In this day and age we can be connected anywhere - even in bed. I'll hasard a guess that your boyfriend is successful and his success means that the life you have with him is quite fulfilling. OK there are times that he shouldn't read his mails, dinner with you, in company, when he should be focussed on you and you alone, and you should speak to him about that. However, checking what's happened in his work world first thing in the morning or any other time of day is not a crime.

I think you should cut him some slack and not make him feel guilty for trying to better himself. In fact Rebecca the new Blackberry has a google function that allows you to see exactly where it is. If you buy one and get him to enable his you can keep a track of his every move just to make sure he's not in some seedy internet cafe when he promised he was out playing football!! See everyone's a winner!

Keep up the great writing,

Chris (addicted to my blackberry too)

Posted: Mon, 01 Apr 2009

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